Northlands Urban Farm

A couple of weeks ago, when I was walking past the Northlands Urban Farm, I saw a woman leaving the farm with flowers peaking out from the top of her backpack. I asked her about the farm and if she had her own allotment; she explained that it was a shared community project.

I wasn’t quite sure what that meant in terms of who does the work and who reaps the rewards, so I checked it out online. I looked at several pages on the website, but I could not find out how the farm work is divided up or who takes home the flowers and vegetables. So, that remains a mystery. Regardless, it is an impressive accomplishment.

The farm is described as a “home to a flock of hens, a hive of honey bees, an innovative vegetable and herb farm, a tree nursery, a pollinator patch, a worm compost, and solitary bee hotels.” It also “provides a rich learning environment for students learning about food, science and biology.”

I had missed by a few days the opportunity to go to the open house, but when I was walking by on Friday I saw that the gate was open. I wandered in and asked the first people I saw if I could take a few pictures, and they said they thought that would be OK.

There were a few people working at various locations within the farm, lots of cabbage white butterflies doing whatever butterflies do, and bees busily pollinating. I’m glad I took the time to walk around. I was able to see how much work had gone into it and guess at how many people it took to make it happen.

It was also good to see how successful they had been. The tomatoes were a week or two away from being ready to pick, the sunflowers were huge, and the rows and rows of carrots would provide for a lot of families. I’m not sure what else was growing there, but it all looked good to me.


  1. I love this place already. Owned/operated (my terms) by people who must share some sort of financial support for the farm. Self-sustaining? Whatever it is, this is such a lovely farm and a glorious idea/concept. I know the plots one can get in places like Emma Prusch Farm/Park have really long waiting lists for growing spaces. And now I wonder if one must re-apply annually for a plot?
    And my burning question: what is a “solitary bee hotel”?

    From still smokey skied SJ…

    • I have all the same questions, Mary Beth! Great minds question alike.

      I hope you can endure the smoke and that it is lessening. V & S were at their daughter’s home in Monterey for a few days but are now back in SJ.

      • It is lessening slowly and I am just grateful for that. V&S being even closer to a burn area must have had awful amounts of smoke. I’ll be brief, on 8/22 we were driving to my son’s home sort of in West SJ. We were doing a ‘drive-by’ to drop off a birthday gift to my granddaughter who is now 21. Anne, as we drove, one could not see the next intersection due to the smokey haze. It has not been a pleasant month and I actually look ahead to Autumn and winter in hopes of clearer skies and RAIN!
        Please do try for the next Open House and curious query: do they perhaps have a store sort of place to sell honey or flowers? My guess is that participants make use of all the farm produces however.

        • Wow. That sounds really bad. I have been following the information available online and the evacuation area was only about a mile and a half or so from V&S’s house. The fire has since moved further east and south, so we can all breathe a little easier both literally and figuratively.

          I’ll see what I can find out about the produce. I think it goes to the participants and/or the less fortunate.

          • I understood that Mount Hamilton and the Observatory and wonderful telescope were fire-threatened for awhile. Fortunately they were saved. If you’ve ever caught TV coverage of Beijing China, you see really frightening air quality. Between the smell and the choking sensation these recent CA fires caused, I began to feel real empathy for those who must live in constant polluted surroundings.

  2. Smashing post.
    Whenever I read posts like this I immediately want to nip out to the garden and check on my veggies …. and plant something.
    It rained today! First of the season and apt as it is the first day of Spring.
    I’ll soon be able to post a few pics of my own meagre efforts.

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