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Little City Gardens: An experiment in the economic viability of urban farming's video poster

Brooke and Caitlyn want to expand their urban farm business. They are carving a space in the market economy for urban food production. Read more

San Francisco, CA Food
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pledged of $15,000 goal
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This project was successfully funded on May 4, 2010.

Brooke and Caitlyn want to expand their urban farm business. They are carving a space in the market economy for urban food production.

San Francisco, CA Food
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About this project

UPDATE: Thanks to you all, we just may surpass our goal, so see here for a list of how we can certainly put any additional funds to good use! Our Question: Here at Little City Gardens, we are motivated by the belief that urban farming should be a common and accessible livelihood in the United States, as it has been, and still is, in some other countries. What does it take to make this happen?

Our History: For over a year we have been steadily building a small farm in the Mission District of San Francisco, where we grow artisinal salad mix, braising mix, and culinary herbs. We deliver weekly to restaurants and neighborhood subscribers. We also host tours, discussions, and workshops about our urban food system. Currently, we are running our farm and educating community members while also holding down our paid jobs elsewhere.

How You Can Help Answer our Question: Now we want to expand! In order to truly gauge the potential of a successful urban farming operation we need to cultivate a minimum of a half-acre and commit ourselves to the pursuit full time. We aspire not only to manage and expand our urban farming operation, but also to keep detailed, transparent records of our budgeting and our process. In doing so, we will contribute concrete information to the local, national, and global dialogue about growing food in cities.

We Have a Business Plan: Working from our last year of seeding, harvesting and sales figures, and factoring in the potential of our new half-acre growing space, we estimate that we can generate a modest wage for two people from the cultivation and sale of greens and herbs. With a significant donation of start-up capital (a kick start!) and a couple of months of full time work to set the stage, we will be able to build up to our full production plan within 4 months. (See our budgeting breakdown here.)

Your donations will be invested in: - The infrastructure of our new farm: irrigation, equipment, tools, row cover, seeds, tool shed. - A few months of time to establish the farm and to work up to the full potential of our business plan. - Publishing research, recordings, and reflections.

The Context of Our Activism: We are young farmers in a nation with a food system gravely out of balance. Currently the scale and dominance of industrial agriculture creates harsh economic realities for small-scale farms. The social and environmental implications of these realities are dire. Our food systems are dependent on large corporate interest and are fueled by petrochemicals. We are witnessing the rapid and irreversible erosion of topsoil, pollution of our water sources, and loss of biodiversity.

We need to get creative. We need more small farms, both urban and rural, in order to regenerate healthy local economies. That’s why we are working towards an urban farming business model that makes up for its small scale by recycling urban resources, eliminating transportation costs, and enlivening new forms of community support. We are applying our creativity, determination, and hard work towards a re-visioning of our food system.

What We Can Share with You: With a balance of realism and optimism, we will chronicle our challenges and our successes, our obstacles and our opportunities. We will muse in written and visual form about the sweat and the flavor, the pests and the problem solving, the bloom and the rot, the dirt and the potential we see as we take one little piece of the food system into our own hands. We will compile all of these reflections into an artful quarterly magazine for our Kickstarter supporters. (We are both skilled artists and graphic designers!) We will also dialogue and share anecdotes, observations, and imagery on our blog: Check out the beautiful rewards we have put together for you below!

Help Us Continue to Build Innovative, Collaborative, Local Food Systems! Your support gives us a real shot at establishing a successful urban farm business model. We believe that by engaging with our neighbors in San Francisco and forging positive relationships with chefs, city officials, and community leaders, we can widen the opportunities in the market economy, allowing for others to follow suit. When we are seasoned urban agriculturalists we will train others to start their own iteration of a collective farm business.

Join us in establishing the path of urban farmer as a career!

Kickstarter offerings!

Some samples of the rewards we have prepared for you, in gratitude for your Kickstarter pledge!

STICKER PACKAGE Caitlyn has designed 6 stickers with phrases that help guide us in our garden business. All 6 stickers included in a package.

LITTLE CITY GARDENS ZINE Germination: Musings on the Business of Urban Farming

A Quarterly Artist Book/ Magazine compiled by Brooke and Caitlyn. ‘Germination’ is a compilation of gardening how-tos, essays, letters, and artwork on the theme of agriculture and its role in our lives. We include our own thoughts and imagery and curate contributions from other artists, farmers and activists. Issue 1: Spring- Agricultural Revival. Issue 2: Summer- For the Love of Labor. Issue 3: Fall- An Equitable Harvest. Issue 4: Winter–Planning for the Future.


We have been saving seeds at Little City Gardens. We will send you a variety pack of these seeds in a handmade package so you can plant your own.


A 5″x11″ hand-silkscreened print. Printed in over 20 different color combinations.


A set of three posters designed and drawn by Brooke. Professionally printed, 9’X12’. Each is inspired by a group of plants that we grow. The first (seen here) includes intricate drawings of all of the varieties of greens included in our salad mix. The second includes medicinal plants and herbs. A third to come!


Each month (for six months) you will receive a hand-painted postcard from our farm (samples below). One-of-a-kind artwork every month in the mail. 5”x 7.5”

Feel free to write us back!


Choose 1 out of 3 phrases (Lets Figure This Out Together, Start Small, Make Positive Spaces) which Caitlyn, a trained sign painter, will design into a hand-painted wooden sign for you. 10”x15” Sample below.


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    10 backers

    Our heartfelt gratitude, and a thank you on our blog!

  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    61 backers

    One lovely sticker package (which includes 6 different sticker designs).

  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    49 backers

    The first issue of Germination, our quarterly zine, plus our lovely sticker package!

  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    28 backers

    A handcrafted seed packet featuring some of our favorite varieties, plus the first issue of our zine and a sticker package.

  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    36 backers

    A one-year subscription to our zine (4 issues), plus a silkscreened Little City Gardens print.

  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    10 backers

    Our entire Greens poster series (set of 3). We're pretty excited about these! Plus, a one-year subscription to our zine (4 issues).

  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    4 backers

    A handmade postcard mailed to you monthly for six months. We'll tell you, through our own handwriting and drawings, how our farm is coming along! Plus, a one-year subscription to our zine, and our entire Greens poster series (set of 3).

  • You selected
    Pledge $750 or more

    2 backers Limited (3 left of 5)

    IF IN SF BAY AREA - Top priority for our Salad CSA waiting list! Plus a subscription to our zine, and our entire Greens poster series.

    IF NOT IN SF BAY AREA - We'll send you a basket of dried & canned goods featuring ingredients from our farm. Plus a subscription to our zine, and our entire Greens poster series.

  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    3 backers

    IF IN SF BAY AREA - A lovingly prepared garden picnic, for you and one friend! Spend an afternoon talking with us over lunch in the garden. Plus zine subscription, and Greens poster series.

    IF NOT IN SF BAY AREA - a custom handpainted sign. Choose from a list of messages to be handpainted on wood by Caitlyn (our resident sign painter). Plus zine subscription and Greens poster series.

  • You selected
    Pledge $2,500 or more

    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    We will travel to your US city and give you a personal garden consultation or a public presentation about our project and experiences as Urban Farmers to an audience of up to 40 people. If in the Bay Area we will offer you both a personal garden consultation and a public presentation. (Also includes zine subscription and poster series).


Funding period

- (89 days)