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Urban Garden tour showcases Salt Lake's progressive gardens

Published June 12, 2013 9:45 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Wasatch Community Garden's chicken coop tour has been so successful, they don't need to do it anymore — at least not exclusively.

The Tour de Coops was started eight years ago to promote urban chicken ownership in Salt Lake County and its cities. And now, the rules on keeping coops throughout the county have been eased.

So this year, the coops tour has expanded to encompass "all the different ways you can practice sustainability in your home and garden," said Carly Gillespie, Wasatch's community educator.

The self-guided "Urban Garden and Farm Tour" is Saturday, June 22, and will feature 18 stops to showcase some of the most progressive gardens grown in the county. It includes: coops, intensive and vertical gardening techniques, community and youth gardens, small urban farms, organic vegetable gardens, mushroom growing, restaurant gardens, rainwater catchment, solar ovens, beehives, food preservations, cob and straw bale structures, rooftop gardens, small livestock (rabbits, guinea pigs, goats and sheep) and permaculture.

Just like the chicken coop tour was meant to make local laws more progressive, the new tour may ultimately serve the same purpose. Gillespie said she's in the beginning stages of talking with Salt Lake County Animal Services about allowing goat and sheep ownership in urban settings.

And one of the homeowners featured on the tour, Jonathan Krausert, uses water recycled from his washer — grey water — on his fruit trees, even though it's not allowed. He's hoping it will become legal.

Krausert's home features nearly every concept highlighted by the urban tour. He's able to grow 90 percent of the vegetables and 80 percent of the fruit he and his wife consume in a year on one-eighth of an acre in Rose Park. He uses his parking strip, front yard and back yard to do it. Plus he keeps chicken coops and beehives, grows mushrooms, bakes in a solar oven, makes his own beer, preserves food through canning and freezing and catches rainwater.

It's a second full-time job for the 56 year old, but farming is something he grew up doing, learning from his grandparents on their Wisconsin farm.

"Now it's called urban homesteading. Years ago it was called survival," said Krausert, who teaches classes at Wasatch. "Obviously, you can't be completely self-sufficient living in the city, but you can have a sense of security."


Urban Garden and Farm Week

Wasatch Community Gardens is holding several events this week to celebrate and promote gardening and farming:

Movie • "Edible City: Grow the Revolution" screens Monday, June 17, 7 p.m. Brewvies Cinema Pub, 677 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City. Free.

Workshop • "Backyard Chickens 201: Maintaining a Healthy Flock," Tuesday, June 18, 6:30 p.m. University of Utah Annex. Call 801-587-5433 to register. $59.

Poetry • Food Poetry Slam: Eat Your Words, Thursday, June 20, 7-9 p.m. Botanica Coffee Shop, 2030 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City. Free.

Books • Reading and signing of The Backyard Chicken Fight by Utah author Gretchen Anderson. Friday, June 21, 4 p.m. The King's English Bookstore, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City. Free.

Brunch • Early Bird Brunch fundraiser, Saturday, June 22, 9-11 a.m. Squatter's Pub, 147 W. Broadway, Salt Lake City. $15.

Tours • Urban Garden and Farm Tour, Saturday, June 22, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. $5 for condensed bike tour; $10 for individual and $20 for a group pass for up to 6 people. Register at http://www.wastachgardens.org