ISSUE 1 URBAN SEED
HONEGROWN A FOOD NARRATIVE BY SARAH HONE
ALFRED HALL As the Hamilton Urban Gardens Systems (HUGS) executive director, Hall helps implement sustainable food system in the greater Hamilton, Ohio region. The gardens range from wood raised beds, hanging wall planters, rural farms and community gardens. Each have their own unique success story for providing readily available healthy food to city dwellers.
McDulin Rooftop Garden. On the roof of a parking garage, about 6 stories high, 20 raised garden beds are the home to a variety of fresh vegetables, herbs and flowers.
THE RURAL GARDEN Double J Farm. After a short ride up Interstate 127, Alfred Hall and I arrive at his personal garden
surrounded by cattle, goats, chickens, pigs and a few dogs. Hot peppers, like the ghost pepper, are growing strong and are just about to turn red – along with the tomatoes. When asked what he does with all the produce that ripens simultaneously, Hall replied, “Whatever I don’t use for myself, I sell it at the farmer’s market or give it away.”
Organic gardens need special care and upkeep. Pesticides are not used to keep the bugs and weeds away. Hall spent some time cutting off and discarding zucchini leaves that had squash bugs crawling on them. If left on, they will multiply and feed on the plant until it dies.
“Growing your own food is a rewarding way to spend time. It’s a lot of work, but worth it.” - Alfred Hall
Dennis Bowling remembers coming to the farmerâ€™s market since he was 6 years old. Bowlingâ€™s Green Thumb Gardens has been in his family for over 3 generations. He had me try a tigger melon, an heirloom melon that tastes similar to honeydew and is fragrant when ripe. It was juicy and delicious!
BUILDING COMMUNITY Ryan’s Tavern. My garden tour with Hall came full circle when we received a warm welcome at Ryan’s
Tavern, an authentic Irish pub in downtown Hamilton. Whenever possible, Tully, one of the managers of the pub, collaborates with local farmers to offer a farm-to-table option, making the restaurant and the food — especially the fried green tomatoes — a hit within the community!