Installing Backyard Gardens: The Seattle Urban Farm Company

Colin McCrate and Brad Halm create an urban farm company in Seattle that passes along their acquired knowledge of ecological sustainability by providing others with the starting points and maintenance it takes to begin and grow a sustainable backyard garden unique to personal needs.

| February 2014

  • McCrate explains that a client may want a 3-foot-high raised bed, so she doesn’t have to bend over to work the backyard garden, but the lumber cost alone might exceed her budget.
    Photo by Fotolia/Rafael Ben-Ari
  • "Reclaiming Our Food," by Tanya Denckla Cobb, offers in-depth stories of how groups through the United States are creating sustainable food models.
    Cover courtesy Storey Publishing

Over the last decade a food revolution has taken place: more and more people have changed the way they eat and what they eat, turning increasingly to local food sources. The Seattle Urban Farming Company installs backyard gardens for those who may not have enough time to put into planting and maintaining a fresh vegetable garden but wish to cook with fresh, organic elements. In “Reclaiming Our Food” (Storey Publishing, 2011), Tanya Denckla Cobb highlights people and companies passing along their time and knowledge on ecological sustainability in order to encourage others to begin growing their own food themselves, participating in the growing grassroots food movement. The following excerpt is from Chapter 1: “Food From Home.”

Buy this book from the GRIT store: Reclaiming Our Food.

A New Breed of Farmer: Selling Gardens to City Folk

Seattle Urban Farm Company

The Seattle Urban Farm Company, a for-profit enterprise, provides services to home-owners and businesses in designing new backyard gardens, developing multiyear gardening strategies, installing ready-to-go vegetable gardens, weekly garden maintenance, pest management, and the design and installation of backyard chicken coops.



As college students, Colin McCrate and Brad Halm lived at Denison University’s “Homestead,” what may be the nation’s only student-run intentional community with a focus on ecological sustainability. Here they learned to tend chickens, goats, and gardens and to live “off the grid.”

Today, as pioneers of an entirely new kind of business, McCrate and Halm are still off the grid in how they think about approaching their life and work. When McCrate founded Seattle Urban Farm Company in 2007, it was among the first in the nation to fill a new but increasingly common desire: people want to grow their own food. And though people may want to garden, and people may like the idea of gathering fresh vegetables and herbs from their gardens for home-cooked dinners with the family, who has the time for any of this?



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