What do you do at Swanson's (or elsewhere)? I’m the co-owner of the Seattle Urban Farm Company, a business that designs, installs, and maintains urban farms and edible landscapes in the Puget Sound region. Over the years, my day-to-day work has included everything from meeting with customers and assessing their yards for food-growing potential to constructing edible landscapes to educating new urban farmers on how to take care of their crops. Tell us a little about your professional background and other interests: I was first introduced to growing food in a vegetable garden at the Homestead, an experiential living option at Denison University in Ohio. My interest piqued; I decided to apprentice on an organic produce farm after graduating. I quickly realized that I had a deep connection to farming as both a vocation and way of life. I went on to serve as the CSA manager at Village Acres Farm in Pennsylvania for several years, and then moved to Seattle in 2007 to help Colin McCrate start the Seattle Urban Farm Company. In my spare time, I love rock climbing, backcountry skiing, playing the guitar, and drinking good beer.
What was your first plant? My earliest plant memory was propagating a willow tree from a cutting in 1st grade. The first planting experience that really struck me was setting out tomatoes in my garden in college, and then harvesting them later that summer and canning tomato sauce into the wee hours of the night. It was amazing!
What is your favorite gardening resource (book, website, etc.)? I love all of Eliot Coleman’s books because although they are quite technical, his passion for organic growing really comes through in his writing. Of course, I have to put in a plug for our book Food Grown Right, In Your Backyard (available at Swansons!) as a great resource for beginning gardeners.
What is your favorite season? I’m from the Midwest, so watching snow-covered, frozen ground transform into rich-smelling earth in the spring has always been one of my favorite experiences.
What is your favorite Seattle-area greenspace/park/garden? I’m a big fan of Carkeek Park. It has a great combination of water, beach, forest, and orchard.
Where in the world would you most like to visit? My family still owns the farm that my grandmother grew up on in Poland; I’d love to see it at some point.
What is your greatest extravagance? Sleeping in late.
What is your favorite dish? It varies depending on the day, but it’s usually homemade pizza with sausage and kale.
If you were a beverage, what would you be? Well whiskey- it’s unpretentious but gets the job done.
What is your most marked characteristic? I’m generally considered to be a very patient person.
Give us a quick gardening tip: Grow food that you love to eat! I find I’m much more likely to take good care of my garden if I’m growing crops that I’m excited about.
You can find Brad's posts here.