Linda Holtby from Västerås, Sweden

“I am an urban farmer and homesteader. Over the past four years my family and I have created our own tiny city farm in the middle of suburbia and that experience has completely transformed me and the way we live!

In my early 20s I worked as an au pair and I remember the mom one day sending out her oldest son to get some chives for cooking. For some reason that memory stayed with me and turned into a vague idea of one day having my own herb garden. When my husband and I bought our home we quickly started dreaming of growing our own herbs and veg. The dream became a reality about four years ago and with it, a new chapter of my life started.

There is something very empowering in growing your own food, something so strong and so deep. I honestly feel like growing food makes me a better, happier and healthier person.

I live with my husband and our two young boys in Västerås, Sweden. Our garden is small, less than 250 m2 but we also grow some food indoors in an old walk-in-closet and we manage to produce about 50% of our annual veg.

We tend to grow what we like to eat, and veggies that store well over winter, like pumpkins and root vegetables.

Last year we added four chickens to our city farm and they have proven invaluable when it comes to good soil and pest control. We also practice crop rotation and urban permaculture. I am becoming more and more interested in heritage seeds and try to support small local seed companies.

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is whether or not we will move to the countryside in the future. Our garden is small and that is our biggest hurdle but no, we are very happy with our city farm. I don’t think the solution to a more sustainable living is for everyone to move to the country, but rather for city folks to make the cities greener.

Growing my own food has completely changed me. It is like I found myself when I started to connect with the land and the food that I eat.

I am very passionate about sustainability. Therefore, during the summer of 2019, we decided to open up our garden and sell some of our produce – but we did not price anything. Instead, we asked our customers to decide what the item was worth to them and pay that amount. This social experiment was a way for us to make people think more deeply about what they eat, where their food comes from and how it is cultivated, and start appreciating locally grown organic veg. It was also a way to meet new people and build a strong neighbourhood.

When you start growing your own food, you also start caring for the planet.”