Urban Farmer of the 80’s

Urban Farmer of the 80’s

Judy Manuele was the first urban farmer I ever met. She farmed a busy street corner in Brookfield, IL.  My heart of the Midwest.

From strawberries, raspberries, cherries and plums to gooseberries and the tallest giant sunflowers I have ever seen.  She grew it all!!!

Judy made bread from scratch, the best fruit jams and pretzel night was always my favorite. I even remember making candles for the church with their family.

All of this on just 0.06 of an acre.  That’s only 2,677 square feet.  Judy and her husband raised five children in a 1,000 square foot townhouse and Judy made clothes for all the children.

I have great memories of playing and running through clothes lines of fresh washed laundry.  She even hung it on bushes and I remember her children being a little embarrassed about this.  Haha, I embarrass my kids with the same thing nowadays. Judy saved all her dish water in a tub and watered her beautiful gardens with it.  I thought, what a great idea.  This woman was the smartest woman I knew at that time.  She was ahead of the sustainability game!

You couldn’t miss her, if you were from Brookfield, riding her bike with a basket in her long skirt.  She was hard to keep up with lol.

I was 5 years old when I met Judy and she is one of the most influential people in my life. I cannot express the gratitude I feel today for the things she taught me.  The funny thing is, I was just a little girl following her around and observing. I wonder if she ever knew?

I think about this every time a child is inspired when I’m gardening or teaching them a life skill.  There’s truly not a better feeling.

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