Urban Homesteading

The time is ripe to turn your patch of concrete into a vegetable garden or create a fishery in your backyard.

Boulder was named a runner-up as America’s Foodiest Small Town by Bon Appétit last year, and locavores are looking forward to the start-up of many of Colorado’s farmer’s markets this month. But the big news is the arrival of Denver Urban Homesteading (DUH).

Plowing the Pavement: Concrete and brick faces are the infrastructure of this new city-bound agrarian movement.

Founders James and Irina Bertini started DUH last fall to help city folk and suburbanites reconnect with local food and agriculture as well as renew and preserve our energy and resources. Their first accomplishment was establishing a year-round farmer’s market held in a refurbished Denver warehouse on Saturdays from 9–2. The market is up to 20 farmers now and grows every week. Starting in April, the market will be open more days, as vendors like Windsor Dairy, the largest raw cow diary in Colorado, and Jack Rabbit biodynamic wine take up permanent residence.

DUH also holds classes taught by local experts, which started last month. These two- to three-hour seminars on topics such as container gardening, basic chicken keeping and worm composting, cost a sustainable $35 each and are filling up fast.

“People want to get closer to the food and the soil. For too many years, we have been divorced from the food production process,” says James.

More advanced classes on topics such as backyard fish keeping, intermediate goat rearing and humane chicken slaughter are scheduled in April and May.

Urban homesteading isn’t for everyone, particularly those keen on the Industrial Revolution and subsequent advances in agriculture that have removed farm labor from the average American’s daily schedule. But the Bertinis contend that it’s fun. It turns out that chickens (and farmers) are surprisingly social.

See denverurbanhomesteading.com for more information and a class schedule. •

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