Urban Gardener Finds Downtown Louisville Home

by Devin Katayama on September 13, 2011

When retired Louisvillian Harland Smith gardens he hears sounds of busy commuter traffic.

That’s because his garden is located on Second Street, right in downtown Louisville.

“I call it my off Broadway garden and since I’ve been introducing a few animals now I’ve been thinking about changing it to my off Broadway farm,” said Smith.

It’s hard to miss if you walk by and people often stop to watch the sheep, chickens and a goose that’ll come right up to the fence.

Jody Taylor walks by and stops to look.

“We use to have gardens and pigs out in the county. People would swerve to miss our chickens when they got in the road. But I wouldn’t expect to see it here,” said Taylor.

Three years ago Smith moved to the Highlands from Old Louisville where he left behind a small garden. He walked by an empty lot owned by the dentist next door and asked if he could start gardening and he agreed, said Smith.

On Thursday’s he’ll harvest his crop and open up his house for a mini-farmers market in his kitchen, he said. His wife, Carol Grossman, lays out the vegetables on the table, and people from the condo come by and pick up produce.

For Smith gardening is his passion. For others, his garden is a chance for people to see something unfamiliar in urban areas like Louisville, he said.

“So it gives me a chance to educate some of the kids in the neighborhood, some of the people in the neighborhood. They see my goose and they call it a duck I’ve had them call it a turkey,” said Smith.

Grossman says she thinks educating children about healthy, sustainable living when their young is a good start. And Jefferson County Public Schools may agree. It began a school-garden program at 12 schools last year, and that was extended to 15 more schools this year.

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