Local Business Brings Farming to Brentwood Backyards

Urban gardening company Farmscape has transformed about 10 Brentwood backyards into mini vegetable gardens. The company has serviced some 200 homes in the Los Angeles area since moving here from Claremont in 2010.

Her husband told her he thought it was just a fad, said Brentwood resident Karin Fielding as two twenty-somethings scurried about her backyard with baby vegetable plants.

"But it's a good fad, right?" said 25-year-old Farmscape urban farmer Rachel Bailin.

Fielding was convinced she had to have her own garden when at a friend's gathering. Someone had showed up with a bag of delicious home-grown lettuce, said Fielding. She was later told about Farmscape.

"I didn't want to run around and find someone to build the raised beds and find somebody else to figure out what kind of soil to use," said Fielding. "I just thought it was a good way to start."

Growing up during WWII, Fielding helped her mother tend to their victory garden. The U.S. government encouraged its citizens to grow their own fruits and vegetables for self-sustainment. Fielding liked the idea of having her own garden again.

"I just think it's a really good idea if you have the space," she said.   

Farmscape provides urban gardening services for people with enough space and sunlight to grow their own produce. Backyards typically do pretty well to facilitate a vegetable garden, said Bailin. The company has provided services to 10 homes in Brentwood and currently maintains gardens for about 100 of its members in Los Angeles. Farmscape has serviced some 200 homes in Los Angeles since the company relocated here from Claremont in 2010.

Co-founder Sean Williams dug a hole in the soil and started loosening the roots of a plant ready to join the others in the garden bed. The 27-year-old helped start the company with a friend in 2009.

"He had made a little bit of money investing in the stock market," said Williams. "So himself, myself and one other person who had a little more expertise in farming and hands-on experience in gardening started it together."

The company is comprised of people mostly in their 20's and 30's. Williams was clean cut and well-spoken. His hair and beard were short and he wore a flannel button-up under a green polo shirt, which bore the company logo.

The team visits some of its members once a week, depending on their need. A garden can take anywhere from a week to a month and a half to install and cost on average $3000, depending on the complexity of the garden design said Williams.

"We do offer design services," said Bailin. "We have an urban farm design architect on staff if people really want to go crazy and have their urban farm vision come to life."

Bailin grew up in Iowa but didn't go to school to learn agriculture. She studied poetry. In 2008, Bailin worked on Barrack Obama's presidential campaign. It was there that she met Williams. When Williams moved his operation to Los Angeles, he offered Bailin a job. 

She's technically Farmscape's chief marketing officer, "But I don't really like that title," she said. It sounds too official.     

"Our company is pretty low-key and fun to work for," said Bailin, who wore a pair of multi-colored sneakers, jeans, a t-shirt and a small nose piercing. Her dark brown hair had dark purple highlights.

A big reason that Farmscape has done so well in Los Angeles is that the wait list for some community gardens can be up to seven years, said Bailin.

"With some community gardens, you have your plot until you die or move, so there's no space and a lot of demand," said Bailin. "Setting up a garden in your backyard makes a lot of sense if you have the space."

Read more about Farmscape on Hermosa Beach Patch and Palos Verdes Patch.


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