Clintonville man educates others about urban farming – Columbus, Ohio
Joseph Swain, right, operates Swainway Urban Farm on his Clintonville property. Sustainable Clintonville members recently toured the small farm.
“We call it food landscaping”
By Kevin Parks
May 19, 2010
In the opinion of Joseph Swain, fast food has had its day and it’s time for “slow food” to hold sway.
Swain is a farmer. He lives in Clintonville. On the Swainway Urban Farm.
If Swain had his way, most people would be, at least a little bit, farmers as well. And he’s willing to help people learn to start growing their own food “on whatever scale they want.”
Of all those currently selling produce they grow themselves at the Clintonville Farmers Market, Swain probably has the fastest commute.
“We have bakers in Clintonville, but farmers? I think Joseph is it,” said Laura Zimmerman, the market’s manager.
Other urban farmers from the Columbus area have booths at the market, which possibly reflects a growing trend in the food sustainability movement.
“It doesn’t take a farm to have the heart of a farmer,” according to Urban Farms magazine, which debuted in August 2009. “Now, due to a burgeoning sustainable-living movement, you don’t have to own acreage to fulfill your dream of raising your own food.
“Urban farms are popping up all over America. However, things are different on an urban farm, versus a rural hobby farm. With less space to work with, projects must be scaled down, efficiency becomes crucial, and one must be resourceful to use every inch of space and recycle every unused object into something useful.”
“We haven’t sought urban farmers,” Zimmerman said. “The urban farmers come to us, but really when one thinks about it urban farming isn’t a new concept.”
A mere 75 years ago, she added, her Clintonville home had a huge garden, practically a small farm, and that was the case with many properties in the neighborhood.
“Perhaps what’s different about Joseph is that he does this for a living,” Zimmerman said. “It’s neither a hobby garden nor a supplemental food garden, but he’s actually working a farm in the city to feed others as well.
“But I say it’s in the best tradition of Clintonville gardens.”