By Krista Arias
Hi my name is Krista Arias. My family and I run the Tierra Soul Urban Farm and Guesthouse in Portland, Oregon. We explore traditional and healing foods, permaculture, and biodynamic farming at our experimental urban homestead. We have tended goats, chickens, ducks (including the famous Hettie Quackers), topbar hives of honey bees and an expanding perennial fruit, flower, herb and vegetable garden based on permaculture principles. We are also cultural and culinary creatives with a penchant for good taste and a return to Slow Food.
Tierra Soul is an evolution of many projects combined with the need to sustain family life with young children. Armed with the knowledge that small farms are statistically more productive that large farms, and fired up by the challenge of making a difference with just what we had in front of us, in 2006 we set about turning our urban life inside out and embracing our inner farmers. It’s been a few years and now, our urban farm project is thriving, supporting us and reaching out into the local as well as global community.
We currently have three main areas of operation:
Tierra Soul Farm
We teach a course called Lazy Lady Living which combines our knowledge of permaculture, value-added farming and nutrient density with a focus on social and cultural resilience/creativity.
We have a historic 6 bedroom home where guests can come and delve into the magic Lazy-Lady Living for a few days on our urban farm while exploring Portland’s cutting edge green culture. We also offer healing retreats and a farmer/artist in residence program.
Our “shop” is stocked with Tierra Soul farm-crafted soap and salve as well as the best in local homesteading culture. We offer Nutritional Therapy services and The Kraut Club Kitchen Collective, a gathering of neighbors cooking with and for each other in a sort of un-restaurant and kitchen swap.
Young nettles are delicious!
Urban Farm Hub had a chance to ask Krista a few questions about her farm:
1. How did you get where you are now? Were you raised on a farm or did it all come slowly? We are city kids who got turned on to traditional foods and with a yard of our own started with goats, ducks, then chickens and bees, then a driveway tear out and 100% mulch project and a B&B to share our world with others.
2. What do you like best about your work? What is most challenging? I love that we have created an income model that brings us closer as a family rather than dragging us in different directions. The cooler and magical our family actually is, the better our business seems to get! On the downsideI would like to be doing more of the cool stuff instead of working so much on the business side of things.
3. What is the strangest thing that has happened running Tierra Soul Urban Farm? The police showed up at our doorstep at dusk one evening for a domestic abuse call. Our kids were both sleeping so we answered the door quietly and didn’t invite them in. It took a few minutes to realize what they were doing at our place as they were being cryptic and testing us with leading questions. Once David realized he chuckled and took them out back and showed them our goat barn where we had a couple male kids who were maturing into remarkably loud and strange sounding squawking beasts. They sounded like people squabbling and hollering at each other; quite a commotion! In the end we all laughed together – even the cops!
4. What is your favorite spring meal? I love having edible flowers in our salad – calendula, lavender, borage, nasturtium, sautéd raab and nettles on sourdough pita with olive oil and local sea salt. This year we have a new addition of slow roasted goat braised with rosemary, garlic and thyme (all from our farm or neighborhood).
5. What is your favorite urban homesteading tool?
Our minds is our best tool and Google, (our other mind), is second best! Really though the principles of permaculture, Anthroposphy
and Nourishing Traditions
have taken us a long, long way. Physical tools are easy when you have principles that increase your efficiency and bolster your perspective.
Hope to see you soon!
Krista & The Arias Clan