Collicello Urban Gardens: Micro-farm, Mega-ambition
Collicello Gardens in Harrisonburg, Virginia
Old South High
Sept. 7, 2012
In six months, he says, the porch will be filled with row upon row of trays for low-light greens, the fences will be hung with herb pots and there’s going to be a lot more use of vertical structures to maximize production on the .15-acre lot, minus the old Victorian-style house’s sizeable footprint.
Warren – also nearing the end, hopefully, of his studies at JMU – and Frere are going to have to maximize production here, because they’ve gone all in with Collicello Urban Gardens, their “community produce donation program.” (Translation: unresolved issues with the city zoning office mean they’ve been denied a business license to run this as a regular old CSA business at this point).
In June, when they signed up their first customer donor, Warren and Frere both quit their restaurant jobs to farm full-time. Since then, they’ve brought on a total of 11 produce donors who receive weekly deliveries of vegetables.
With 15 regular donors, the pair figures to be paying their bills. With 17, they’ll be able to buy important things like groceries and beer. And they are 100 percent, without-a-doubt confident they’ll be producing enough next year on Collicello Street to keep 50 produce donors well-stocked with produce, which would basically put Warren and Frere on Easy Street.