This morning, I arrived at the farm to shape more beds and plant potatoes, only to discover that the farm had an unwelcome visitor overnight. Despite wide, 18-inch paths between beds (luxurious compared to the 12-inch paths I used on my last farm!), somebody had decided to walk right through several of the freshly seeded beds, leaving giant, deep footprints. I'm calling the perpetrator Bigfoot.
The irony is that almost everybody I've talked to in the neighborhood supports the farm. Several stop by daily to visit. On Saturday, somebody I hadn't met walked up to me, said "This is a good thing you are doing here," and handed me a bottle of cold water. Yesterday, a mom and her teenage daughter pulled up, got out of their minivan, and offered to help. They forked beds for an hour. Another neighbor has volunteered 3 times in the last 5 days, for several hours at a time. Just as I had hoped, we are building a community around this farm. Unfortunately, it just takes one person to ruin it for everybody else. Or in this case, one "large, hairy, bidpedal humanoid," as Wikipedia describes the "real" Bigfoot.
I remain an optimist, and will continue trying to grow food on this farm. A few footprints isn't going to stop me. But it has made me stop and think: maybe a fence around the property is a worthwhile investment. The community-builder in me doesn't really want a fence, because I want the neighbors to see this farm as partly theirs. But the practical side of me realizes that a farm with no vegetables won't build much community, either! The school across the street has a 4-foot tall chainlink fence around its parking lot that I could emulate. At 4-feet tall, it doesn't dominate the landscape, but still sends a clear message of "Go around!." I estimate that such a fence around my farm would cost about $1200, plus labor to install. Another option I'm considering is a flower "fence," such as a single line of tall sunflowers around the farm's perimeter. It would be cheaper than a metal fence, but probably less effective, too.
What are your thoughts about putting up a fence? Leave me a comment.
In the meantime, I'll be on the lookout for Bigfoot. Based on the footprint size (~12 inches), I estimate Bigfoot is 6'0"- 6'4" tall.