How a 1/2 Acre Urban Garden Became a Hub for Many More

Video screen capture. Happen Films

From a 23 year old food forest to a 215 square foot cabin, Happen Films have produced some wonderful examples of people living closer to the land.

As is always the case with such permaculture projects, however, I often find myself torn between the benefits of small scale sustainable agriculture and the downsides of rural living and the gigantic transport footprint it often entails.

Their latest film, however, presents us with an urban example. (Well, "urban" by rural New Zealand standards...) Kane and Fiona Hogan have transformed their urban 1/2-acre property into an abundant organic smallholding as part of their business called The Urban Gardener. They use the income from cash crops to fund an outreach effort to local residents, providing landscape design and gardening services to residents who might not otherwise have the opportunity to grow their own food.

It's not even so much about growing food anymore, says Kane, but rather the interchange of ideas and the building of a resilient community. Fiona adds that many of these older residents have deep, important knowledge about food growing which is largely going unused—in reaching out and offering them a helping hand, Urban Gardener often becomes the recipient—not the disseminator—of knowledge and wisdom.

The Hogan's say they'd define success by putting themselves out of business in a world where food growing is a natural, everyday part of the culture. It's very cool stuff, and they say they'd love to see the model replicated elsewhere.

As always, if you dig this video, please consider supporting Happen Films on Patreon.