“18 months ago, after over a decade of living in NYC, my husband and I left our friends, families and jobs to start a small farm and homestead, Moonshot Farm. It had always been a long-term dream of ours to live on a farm, but after our newborn daughter was briefly hospitalized, we decided not to wait any longer to realize our dreams.
Growing food started with some baby chicks in our bathtub in Brooklyn. Eventually we had a tiny urban homestead, including a container veggie garden and three beehives in our little backyard. In the middle of the city, we loved having these connections with nature and food.
There are so many ethical, environmental, and financial reasons to grow your own food, but to me it comes down to pure pleasure. Nothing will ever taste as good as a perfectly ripe cherry tomato, warm from the sun, eaten while still in the garden.
We now live on 10 acres in East Windsor, NJ. Our main “kitchen garden," filled with veggies and herbs for our family, is around 2500 sq. feet. We have planted a small orchard of apples and pears, and have a separate area dedicated to berries.
On our homestead we love to grow heirloom varieties of veggies that we can’t get in the store. Things like jewel-colored beefsteak tomatoes, Chinese flowering broccoli, purple garlic. On the commercial farm side, we grow a little over an acre of specialty cut flowers for local markets and florists.
Don’t fight nature. We strive to create an environment attractive to beneficial insects, birds, and yes, snakes. We are strictly pesticide-free, and we do not till to avoid disrupting the soil structure and the life inside. We have flowering hedges and trees throughout our property, nourishing native bees and nesting birds. Sheet-mulching with cardboard, compost, and wheat straw is our go-to method for creating growing space and minimizing weeds. We also use our sheep and chickens to mow cover crops and fertilize our land.
The learning curve from city living to managing a 10-acre farm has been steep. Luckily for us, the farming community has been so generous with their knowledge – from neighbors lending us machinery to homesteaders in other countries sending advice via social media. We have a lot of weed and pest pressure, and more gardening/farming fails than we could list out, but we try not to take any of it too seriously and always have fun along the way.
We’re so grateful to be able to raise our daughter in this lifestyle. She is barely 2 years old, but already has a deep understanding of where her food comes from. She loves helping with farm chores, from collecting eggs to watering the garden. I joke that she will know way more about farming than we ever could!
Next year we will be launching a series of homesteading classes for our local community, on topics from general gardening to beekeeping and raising chickens. We recognize how privileged we are to have access to land, and want to help teach people to grow their food no matter how much space they have.
Get your hands in the dirt! There is so much turmoil in the world right now, and gardening is one of the best ways to stay mindful and grounded. The gardening/homesteading community can be intimidating – you don’t have to dry your own peppers or can your own tomato sauce. Just pop some seeds in the earth and have fun watching them grow!”