Gina Detweiler shares the story of her family's Half Pint Farm
I "met" Gina Detweiler through our mutual friend Marian Vischer, who was like, "Hey you guys are both weirdo gardeners! Discuss." (Paraphrased.) This week Gina agreed to share the story of their Fun-Size Farm, which she calls Half Pint Farm. (Love the name—Laura Ingalls Wilder what what!)
Not only does Gina's story look similar to ours—house bought just before the market crash, "farming" in the backyard, inspired by Victory Gardens—she also shares my feeling that the garden is a large part of what makes our home a place where we *want* to stay indefinitely.
Gina's story proves that a little bit of vision and a dash of hope can make a backyard into a garden, turn Nothing into Something...
Half Pint Farms began rather unintentionally. We bought our house in 2007, and if you remember your economic history, you’ll recall that this was shortly before the giant crash of 2008. Our realtor must have been as clueless as we were about the market, because we bought right at the tippy top. At that point having a garden was the last thing on our minds.
When the housing market crashed in 2008 we saw our neighborhood crash with it. And a short nine months after closing on our home, we joined a large portion of our community in the unemployment lines.
In that season of unemployment, having a garden seemed like an easy way to save money. Motivated by stories of victory gardens during World War II, we pulled up a chunk of lawn and threw down some seeds.
It started with a 10 by 20 plot that we crammed with veggies. The plot soon become 4 raised beds and we were content to stay there. We were in a neighborhood after all. People don’t just go all out and plant all the food they can in the middle of a suburban lot, do they?
But our thinking began to shift, and we started wondering why not just a little bit more? Why not grow enough to share with others?
Buying land seemed like the best option for that garden expansion we longed for. But the big crash that caused a job loss, led to a failed attempt to modify our mortgage, and then put us close to foreclosure. However, it also opened the door for a short sell, which made a way for us to buy back our home at current market value. Crazy town is the best way to describe the financial roller coaster we were on for several years. And we still marvel at the miracle of how God provided for us through that process.
That process cemented in us that **the house we have now is home, and will be for quite a while**.
We added chickens to our food growing game a few years ago and last year we expanded our garden with another 10 x 20 chunk. And by we, I mean my husband, because let’s face it, he does all the heavy lifting around here.
We started a garden 8 years ago because we wanted to save money and we wanted to get closer to our food so to speak. And although we’re not preppers, having the skills and knowledge to grow and preserve our food gives us some comfort in case there’s ever a major crisis in our area.
We now have 12 chickens and roughly 20 feet by 20 feet of garden space, all on a 1/7 of an acre city lot. As we started the growing season last year I thought we should have a clever name, mostly because I thought it would look cute on a chalkboard. I spent most of my childhood dreaming I was Laura Ingalls, so Half Pint Farm seemed like the best idea.
Initially our goal was to simply grow all the food and grow enough to share. But as we’ve gone on I feel like our garden has become so much more than a food source. It was an oasis when we faced foreclosure, and it has become a source of provision as we’ve stretched our limits on what we can grow.
It’s forced us to be creative as we find clever uses for bumper crops, and it’s given us opportunities to connect with our neighbors as we’ve delivered bags of fresh picked goodies.
And because we live in a tough to grow, high desert climate at 3000 feet elevation, it’s turned into a symbol of how God can work out what seems impossible. Not just in the dirt, but with our lives.
**Turns out that growing food is about so much more than just growing food. It’s a mindset of using what you have, where you are and making the most of your resources.**