Once upon a time, in a land called Illinois, there was a boy who loved to grow things, and eat the many natural foods of the wild. Every year he would grow more and more, expanding and adding more variety. He would photograph the beauty and work at his job unable to wait until he returned home to his gardens. Many moments were spent learning about soil, biology, and sustainable agriculture.
One day, however, he takes the long awaited step to leave his home town and travel to the dramatic and wild land of western Washington, and is soon having bigger dreams. He finds a piece of land to start his first real farm, Magic Bean Farm.
I am Josh Parkinson, and Magic Bean Farm was a long time in the making. Like many who start a farm, my history was one frought with tension between different paths, and a fear of what taking a farming path might mean. Even my passions split me between my artistic side and my love of growing edibles and ecosystems.
I spent many years passionately following sustainable growing, and ever increasing the size and diversity of my gardens. I found along the way an intuition as well to the nature of biological systems, even planting companion plants together before I had the knowledge of what those were. But my interests beckoned beyond gardens.
As I researched and learned, reading about ecological growing and food, I gravitated to sustainable agriculture and the food system. My knowledge grew, and my path towards regenerative agriculture began, driven by a desire to heal the earth and nourish humanity with nutritious food. My experimental and pioneering nature led me to want to develop better models of sustainable agriculture, incorporating the whole ecology into the system, building life and soil, and put it to work!
Magic Bean Farm is a culmination of everything into a new venture, starting on a piece of land in Buckley with a CSA, and moving to West Seattle to rebuild in the urban area around me. Buckley was a success in agriculture, while a struggle with marketing. Vegetables and life flourished, soil turned from a depleted rocky soil to a rich and friable one, and lush beauty abounded. Little Pacific Tree Frogs proliferated in a wonderful, hopping suprise around every corner! Sunflowers stood tall with radiating yellow petals, trellises were weighed down by masses of a rainbow of heirloom tomatoes, and a rythm of color and texture cascaded across the field.
Alas, it was time to move, and that move was to the city. West Seattle found me and I settled in together, quickly finding the community and oppurtunity that eluded me previously. Within a couple months I was not only building back up a land base through enthusiastic and downright excited land partners and planning for a new and expanded year of farming, I was also connecting with vibrant communities and several projects and contacts in the community.
Paths led me swiftly and serendipitously to connections with the college and developing research and demonstration projects, with developing a new community orchard, with other urban farm projects and to become a member of a local food security group, among other things. Similarly, paths led me to avenues to help Magic Bean Farm flourish and to bolster my spirits with the enthusiasm and comaraderie of others.
I look forward to great adventures ahead, and to the building of something that will prove the viability of urban agriculture, regenerative agriculture, and spread knowledge to others.