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The following is a response from a participant in the Urban Homesteading Design Lab sponsored by Artists in Context. To read more about the event, visit the Urban Homesteading Design Lab Event Page.

"A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend a workshop on Urban Homesteading with Rachel Kaplan. The workshop was held outdoors at Montview Farmin Northampton. I am a recent graduate of Hampshire College, moving to Brooklyn this September, and while I have always had an interest in urban farming, I have struggled with the question of where to begin with my own homesteading projects in my limited space. I went to the workshop with the hope that it would inspire me to tackle larger homesteading projects in the upcoming year. Rachel had advice to fit everyone's differing timelines and living situations.

The greatest insight I took away from the workshop was that connecting with one's community is a vital step towards creating an urban homestead (emphasis added). Living in the Pioneer Valley I've witnessed firsthand how farmers depend on each other; the valley seems to me to to be a place where farm and community go hand in hand. Farmers in more densely populated urban areas seem to depend on each other in a different way. They have access to less land, and so trading crops and products becomes more necessary for sustaining their lifestyle. What urban farmers do is perceived as being against the grain of society at large, so the immediate farm community must act as a support system.

Towards the end of the workshop we broke off into smaller groups to talk about our plans or goals for our own urban homesteads. The first step I plan to take towards constructing my urban homestead is to connect with my neighbors in Brooklyn who are already doing this work. In short, this workshop helped me come to a more nuanced understanding of what role community plays in urban farming."

- Claire Turner, AIC scholarship recipient

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