475: David Barrow on Sustainable Urban Farming in Texas.
Farming for a local restaurant and a rapidly growing community.
In This Podcast:
It was not a direct path to this destiny for David Barrow, but running a sustainable urban farm in Austin Texas has been his biggest success. With many regenerative and sustainable practices in use on the farm it is no wonder the soil is healthy and the crops are productive. Working hand-in-hand with a restaurant onsite allows for the freshest of dishes in a unique way. He shares some key aspects about how sustainable farming is working in East Austin.
Our Guest:David is the Farm Manager for Eden East Farm in East Austin. After 18 years of working in the film industry, he began managing Eden East Farm and runs the farm in conjunction with a locally sourcing restaurant. Eden East Farm is a sustainable urban farm sitting three miles from the state capital building. They grow over 65 varieties of produce throughout the year, and service restaurants and the public alike. Formerly Springdale Farm, the property has served the community for over 100 years in some sort of farming capacity.
Listen in and learn about:
- Working for 18 years in the film industry
- Growing community gardens and befriending gardeners in many different places
- Both the film industry and the farm industry have a lot in common
- A visual picture of Eden East Farm and what a guest would see
- Farm AND table, with an interactive experience
- The importance of good soil management
- The composting system they use on the farm
- Seed saving and no synthetic chemicals on the property at all
- They were harvesting over 100 lbs of cucumbers
- The process of running a farm in an urban area
- Succession planting is a key to extending their season
- Water and how managing the moisture for the crops
- Healthy soil and what they put into this regenerative process
- How healthy soil affects the potential for pests, weeds, and the fertility of the plants
- Seeds from the farm and what is working for them
- What lead him to trying to run this farm
- A Farm has been there for over 100 years
- The special history of the Austin area
- Growing for their restaurant and keeping the restaurant staff informed
- They allow the chefs to gather mise en place ingredients
- The challenge of keeping the farm despite developers owning the property
As well as:
His failure – Failure happens every day
His success – Still doing this! Learned patience
His drive – challenge himself to learn something every single day
His advice – Try everything once!
David’s Book recommendations:
The New Organic Grower, 3rd Edition: A Master’s Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener, 30th Anniversary Edition by Elliot Coleman
How to reach David:
Facebook: Eden East Austin
Instagram: @edeneastaustin or @farmeredeneast