665: The Past, Present and Future of The Urban Farm
Part 2: The Present
by Greg Peterson
In Part 2 of this special 3 part series, Greg reflects on the upcoming move from the Urban Farm in Arizona, to a new, yet to be named farm in North Carolina. He talks about the factors leading up to the move and the criteria for choosing the new location.
Well, the news is out and there are big changes in my life. Heidi and I are moving, and this is not a little move. We are transporting ourselves 1900 miles to our dream home in Asheville, North Carolina. Lots more to come about our landing place in the ‘future’ part of my writing. I want to assure you, however, with our team in place (Janis, Tayler, Theresa, Ray, Renee, Bill, Belle, and Kari) all of our programs will continue into the future just like they have for over 20 years. And for those of you that expect to see me on the ground in Phoenix – you still will for the Fruit Tree Program events and the Seed Up.
The next step in our journey is to look at the Present and I’ll begin with the biggest question I get…Why are you moving? As I am writing this, we are a mere 30 days away from transporting ourselves from the only town I have ever known (Phoenix), and the only home I have ever owned (6750 N 13th Place) which in 2002 I dubbed The Urban Farm. Our destination is a little town called Alexander, a small town on the suburban/rural western edge of Asheville, NC. Our new property, which we have yet to name, is 4 acres with a single level home, metal roof and solar panels. We have a well and septic, both of which are new explorations for me, having lived on city services the entirety of my life.
All indications are that where we are moving is magical, and a friend of mine who lives there told me last summer that if there was such thing as a ‘soul’ town for someone – Asheville is mine. Visiting there in December 2021, the evidence started mounting for just that. While driving around town I took note of two separate billboards that I saw multiple times. The first one said “your local farm is open, download the app”. That stopped me in my tracks – a town of 100,000 people has their own local farm app? WHOA!!! The second billboard said “get your local compost here”. Both billboards had me pause, take a deep breath, and know down to my toes that this is the right move for us.
Why We Are Moving From Arizona
But how did I get from saying for several decades that I would be carried out of the Urban farm in a box, to uprooting my entire life and moving 1900 miles to a new and exciting life? Apparently, the seeds for this conversation go back over a decade.
My mom passed away in May of 2021. Once I shared that we were moving with friends, I had a couple people remind me that over 10 years ago I had said that once mom passed away I was out of here. That came as a surprise to me as I do not remember even having that thought. Hmmmmm.
In 2012 I had an opportunity to take a break from the Urban Farm after having lived here for 23 years at that time. During my sabbatical I ended up living in a little town west of Phoenix called Peoria. It was different from living in North Central Phoenix in two ways. First there was much less traffic hence a lot less background noise, and second, energetically, it was more peaceful as I was not surrounded by so many people. I didn’t know it until I experienced it, but I was looking to live someplace quieter. I shared that with Heidi and she said that she couldn’t leave because all of her yoga students lived in Phoenix. So that ended that conversation until COVID, where she put all her classes online and we realized that for Urban Farm U we could do the same. And the hunt was on.
Why we are moving to North Carolina
So, what were the things that we considered in our move location? Quiet was the number one thing for both of us. Next, someplace not so hot in the summertime. Both Heidi and I have lyme disease (you may have seen my right hand shaking on camera, that is the lyme) and it tends to thrive in hot weather. So our hope is that the cooler summer temps will calm our hot weather symptoms.
More rain was the next consideration. Over the last 7 years we have gotten on average 9.94 inches of rain here at the Urban Farm, and our last three years have averaged 7.71 inches per year. That is dry for our skin, our plants and animals. Asheville averages 3 to 4 inches of rain per month. WOW. We are excited to see what we can grow there. A few years back a gardener friend moved to Seattle (they get comparable rainfall) and he shared with me that all he had to do was throw seeds out the back door and harvest a few months later. I am so looking forward to that. One more big thing in our decision was air quality. The thing we notice every time we go to the beach is our lungs are a lot clearer. If this works it will be a bonus.
Making the transition
What I am clear about is that after having lived in Phoenix for 54 years, moving to a wetter and colder in the winter climate may be a bit challenging. And it is an incredible experience that both Heidi and I are really looking forward to.
As I walk my way through this process of disconnecting myself from the property that I have owned for over 30 years, in the town that has been my home for over 50 years, I have to take many deep breaths each day. And I remember my all-time favorite quote:
“Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative or creation, there is one elementary truth…that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves. too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would otherwise never have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man would have believed would have come his way.
Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace, and power in it.”
― W.H. Murray The Scottish Himalayan Expedition
It reminds me all my thoughts and words are important. Every moment of every day, what is in my head frames out my future. This new adventure happened in record time because Heidi and I got on the same page and created it. And once we were committed and spoke it to the universe, providence moved too. We created our pictorial vision board on Aug 7, 2021 and closed on our perfect home on Feb 7th…6 months to the day.
I have said for years that Shit happens in the world because someone says so. So what say ye? You too can speak your bliss into existence. What kind of exciting adventure are you up to creating? It is up to you!
Coming next week… The Future of The Urban Farm
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