You may have noticed already, but we’ve got a new person on the team. Meet our new Urban Farm Assistant, Jill Snell! Jill will be assisting Colleen Owen this summer to produce amazingly delicious and nutritious organic produce. She brings almost a decade of urban farming experience in the Pacific Northwest as well as a super positive attitude and vivacious spirit (she says that her spirit plant is a carrot, we’ll explain more later…). Jill happily describes Pringle Creek Community as a place where, “You’re living with people that love and respect the Earth, and are doing their part to be ethical and good humans.”
“My love affair with urban farming propelled me into growing produce every year…”
Jill got into urban farming when she and her husband adopted a child with special needs. These needs meant Jill had to figure out a way to get the best quality food that was also cost effective for her daughter to thrive. Jill says, “My love affair with urban farming propelled me into growing produce every year and finding sustainable ways of growing food. This led to buying a 5.5 acre farm. We had a 30 family CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), milking goats, and offered classes to teach people how to farm in their own backyards successfully.” Jill is also in the midst of proving that a family of four can produce enough food on a small plot of land in Salem.
We asked Jill what the secrets are to having the best yield. Jill says, hands down it’s soil. “Once you have gorgeous soil that’s alive, you can grow 10 times more than you think you could.” Ways of making sure that your soil is ripe for growing produce is getting your soil tested a couple times of year. Once in the fall and in the early spring. Jill uses the OSU Extension for soil testing, which is more expensive but more in-depth with results. You may also get a more affordable soil kit at Wilco to try out. A seeding schedule is also important to time the harvests and also maximize the space in your garden.
“People are going to be super stoked about the incredibly delicious produce that’s going to be growing for the CSA!”
With the CSA beginning at Pringle Creek Community, Jill wants to let you know that, “People are going to be super stoked about the incredibly delicious produce that’s going to be growing for the CSA!” This includes green onions, carrots, beets, flowers, honey, green beans, greens, and more. Alright, so we just mentioned carrots. Jill’s spirit vegetable is a carrot because, “It’s rooted and slow to progress, making it a really thoughtful vegetable that’s also incredibly hardy.” She goes on to explain that carrots have this “sensory explosion of crisp, hardy, sweet and savory.” Mind you, when we started talking about those unique flavors, Jill also could not help but talk about techniques of making tomatoes even more tasty by using specific harvesting techniques. There are possibly plans this summer for some mouth-watering tastings focused on particular veggies like the carrot and perhaps some fruits for your sweet tooth, so stay tuned!
If you see Jill around the community, please give her a warm welcome!
Urban Farm Ideas