Plenty of urban in this urban farm

Here's urban farmer Annie Preston, wearing sunglasses after being stung by a bee on Monday, weeding at the Urban Tree Connection's farm at 53d and Wyalusing. You can certainly see the urban nature of this spot, and just imagine its former lives as garage, a storage area and, according to one oldtimer in the neighborhood, a plant nursery. Must've been a long, long time ago! Finally there was a fire and then blight set in. Neighbors recall all sorts of unsavory stuff going on in there.

Today, the place is quite savory, I can assure you, in both the cultural and culinary senses of the word. Yesterday Annie was pulling grass and lamb's quarters, an irritating weed that chefs now use in salads and other dishes, from the rows of spring onions. The weeds this year - as you may have seen in your own garden - are plentiful. I'm on the third or fourth round of pulling in mine ...

After watching Annie working slowly, slowly, down the row, you can understand the problems of scale experienced by farmers. One of Annie's coworkers grew up on a farm in Ohio. He tells of his still-farming grandfather's shock and puzzlement over the fact that his grandson's tiny urban farm takes so long to plant and weed. It's because this farm is organic, and everything is done by hand - the old-fashioned way.