Meet the women of Seattle Urban Farm Company.
Hilary Dahl is co-owner and host of the Encyclopedia Botanica podcast. The podcasts are quick lessons in farming, each one is easy to access—you can listen to them online and read the highlights. For example, this week’s tutorial is about harvesting and storing garlic and onions.
Seattle Urban Farm Co. offers many services, and they differ from customer to customer. Their knowledgeable team can plan, build, and maintain the urban farm you always wanted but never thought you could personally manage—perfect for those of us who may not have a green thumb, but love the idea of homegrown tomatoes.
The all female maintenance team includes Sarah Bolton and Emily Barry. Together, they care for over 60 urban vegetable gardens across the city. Daily tasks include planting the crops, keeping an eye on the soil, fertility, irrigation, pest management, pruning, weeding, and harvesting.
Hilary’s background is in Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning. As a 4th generation Seattleite, she has watched her home expand as people flock to the city. And of course, with change comes growing pains. Hilary wrote her undergrad thesis on “the human experience of density,” in an effort to maintain a small town feel as the population grows.
“I think that green spaces are essential in a modern city. Every day in my work, I see that food-producing green spaces create opportunities for people to meet their neighbors, get exercise, eat vegetables, connect with nature, and have fun…
I hope that we can continue to elevate the conversation around food production. As people become more interested in the environmental and health benefits of local, organic food, I want to make sure that they also consider the social impacts of their food choices. I think that farmers deserve more respect for the work that they do. I wish that everyone had a personal relationship with a few farmers and could keep in mind what an essential job they have.” – Hilary Dahl
“I love being able to live in the city while still spending every day outside working in unique and beautiful garden spaces. Every day is different, and we are always changing and evolving to adapt to the challenges of urban farming and gardening. I love the planning and problem solving aspect of customizing gardens to excel in the diverse spaces we grow in. Also, I just really love watching plants grow and the way working with plants gives you appreciation for all of the seasons.” – Garden Maintenance Manager Sarah Bolton
“It is amazing how much food a small space can produce and how successful a garden can be with bi-monthly maintenance. I am really excited about this high-yield, low-maintenance approach to growing, and growing food in more spaces where people can have awesome food connections!” – Emily Barry
In Hilary’s podcast, Encyclopedia Botanica, she dives deep into farming issues. The subjects vary, and each one is filled with valuable information and tidbits she’s learned along her journey as a farmer. For example, many people consider radishes to be a spring crop. Truth is, these little bulbous beauties can be planted throughout the entire growing season. If you’d like to learn more about radishes, check out this episode of Encyclopedia Botanica about the amazing edible root.
This Friday is Hilary’s due date. She’s been busy growing a business, crops across the entire city of Seattle, and a whole new life—further proof that women are thoroughly amazing.
“I’m 9 months pregnant with my first child. I’m really excited to see how this next phase will take shape and how I’ll blend my new role as a mom with my role as a business owner and gardening educator and storyteller.” – Hilary Dahl
Follow the work of these talented women on instagram here: @seattleurbanfarmco.