In the City of Chicago, nestled in the completely gentrified little neighborhood of Bucktown, lives me in my rental apartment. While it’s adorable here and there’s tons of trees, my immediate setting isn’t any greener than the skinny rectangular patches of Earth that line the streets, where thousands of dogs.
p. It’s totally true. I don’t have a garden of my own. In fact, I’ve never had a garden of my own, in the traditional sense of the word.
So then, wait. How have I learned everything I know about gardening? And how do I post all my pictures of gardens I plant and food I harvest if I have no yard or land whatsoever?
(Please note that affiliate links are present in this post, which means if you click on a link and buy something I’ll get like 4 cents for it. All product recommendations are genuine and my own).
I’ve taken some pretty big leaps throughout my food growing journey. A forest flower in a former life, I started really wanting a vegetable garden but not having a clue how to start one. So I offered up my free time to volunteer on urban farms in Detroit where I planted seeds and trees for the first time. That evolved into landing a job working on several non-profit urban farms, and that was when I felt my life bloom technicolor rainbows of possibility. A season later, I relocated to Chicago to work with an edible landscaping company where I designed the layouts of and helped grow over 100 backyard gardens and taught dozens of families what I knew about growing food. I even got to teach classrooms of children in school gardens! That company fired me last year (it happens), but it was perhaps the biggest blessing of all because I am still gardening – but on my own terms. And now I have this blog where I get to share everything I’ve learned with anyone who cares. It’s all so incredible to me.
Long story short, I have a lot of experience growing food – because I put myself in the way of many opportunities. I chose urban farming and immersed myself in it. And I continue to make new, creative food growing opportunities for myself despite not even having a garden of my own! This all could not be more true, I swear.
So, what do you do when all you want is to grow a garden but there’s nowhere to do it?
You get creative. You step out of your comfort zone. You talk to other people. You make new friends. I never said this wouldn’t be scary. Take my more articulate advice below.