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Get Growing: A new Leader column aimed helping you start your own urban farm

In this column, we are going to discuss anything and everything that has to do with growing your own food. Along the way, we are likely going to get some pro tips from the fantastic and knowledgeable local farmers in our community.
james bio photo
James Lissy (courtesy photo)

Hello Longmont. Are you ready to start your very own urban farm or garden?

Summer is over, fall is here, and we are headed into winter at a fast and furious pace. Contrary to what you may think, winter is the perfect time to start planning your very own urban farm or garden for next summer. Growing Food is the latest column for the Longmont Leader and we are going to discuss anything and everything about how you can grow your own food.

My name is James and I’ll be your guide for this journey. I was born and raised in Golden, and I have resided in lovely Longmont for almost seven years now. I am just finishing up my fourth year of growing my own food in the backyard of my house right here in Longmont. Instead of spending money watering and maintaining grass I don’t get any benefit from, I water and maintain vegetables as well as wildflowers. As of writing this, I have grown, harvested, eaten and preserved over 700 pounds of food in the 2020 season alone. This should be enough food to sustain myself until the 2021 season rolls around, but time will tell for certain. 

I grow my food as naturally as possible, or “beyond organic” as I like to refer to it. This allows me to know exactly what is in the food I am consuming, how it was grown and where it was grown. Not to mention the vegetables I grow and eat are undoubtedly very healthy and nutritious. All of this is accomplished while drastically lowering my grocery bill along with my carbon footprint and helping to heal the environment along the way.

What I can’t grow myself (or what fails) I buy from local farms whenever possible. We live in a town teeming with farms and there are few things more joyous in life than getting to know a farmer that has growing practices you want to support and buying food directly from that same farmer throughout the year. This keeps dollars in the local community and supports a family in the town we all live in for the essential service of providing food for all of us to enjoy.

2020_10_24_LL_growing_foodAn aerial shot taken in July 2020 showing part of James' urban farm in Longmont.(Photo courtesy of James Lissy )
When I started this journey of growing my own food four years ago, I had absolutely zero agriculture experience or knowledge and now I’m living off of the food I grow. In February, I started a blog called Grass to Veggies to share how I do this. Not only does my urban farm provide me with tasty food but it comes with a lot of unexpected benefits. Caring for the urban farm is an incredibly good workout and allows me to spend time outside while still enjoying the comfort of my home. The wildlife loves it and the urban farm also provides me with a relaxing oasis to read a book, meditate, practice Qigong or just calm myself down. I could go on and on about the benefits of growing your own food, but let’s just get to it. 

In this column, we are going to discuss anything and everything that has to do with growing your own food. Along the way, we are likely going to get some pro tips from the fantastic and knowledgeable local farmers in our community. Longmont’s history is rooted in agriculture, with farming still very much a part of this town. There’s everything from big production farms to small urban farms and everything in between. Perhaps you can be a part of this modern farming history by starting your own urban farm.

What is an urban farm anyway?

An urban farm is basically a really big garden or a very small farm and doesn’t really fit into the context of either of those labels. It’s more of a make your own label and can be whatever you want it to be. Your typical lawn is generally replaced by vegetables and flowers, providing you with food to eat.

If you have any questions or subjects you would like me to cover in this column, they can be emailed to with the subject of “Longmont Leader question.” I will happily answer any questions you may have, after all this column is for you to benefit from and enjoy.


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James Lissy

About the Author: James Lissy

James, a Longmont resident, has spent the last few years learning the ins and outs of maintaining an urban garden.
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