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Urban farm really grows on visitors and volunteers

David Kahn founded Edendale Farm five years ago on a sloping half acre in the middle of a Silver Lake neighborhood. He wanted to show that a slower pace is possible, even in a metropolis like Los Angeles.

November 07, 2010|By Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times

The farm has already grown beyond them. Feutrie, the French artist, learned about Edendale at the website of World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, a network that connects volunteers with farms.

During breaks from farming, he and his girlfriend, Caroline Guittet, 26, work on an art installation around a palm tree in the middle of the farm. They're using only objects found on the site. On Thursday, three kitchen chairs hung upside down from grooves in the trunk. They will exhibit their work with a party on the farm on Nov. 14.

Another volunteer, Emily Slezak, has been working as unpaid intern every day for the last two months. A recent graduate of USC, Slezak, clad in striped overalls, said working on the farm allowed her to better understand the way of life of her grandparents, who tended a farm in Arkansas. "These aren't really new principles," she said. "It's just how we used to live."

Edendale Farm gets many visitors. Some, like schoolchildren on class trips, are welcome. Others, like squirrels and gophers, are not.

On Thursday, as a regal elm tree shed golden leaves, a yellow convertible pulled up to the curb. Out hopped Allen Plone, 63, who handed Kahn two fluffy squash muffins made with eggs from Edendale Farm.

Plone, a screenwriter, drives 20 miles from his home in Playa Vista every two weeks to buy two dozen eggs from Kahn. Plone is a vegan, but his wife eats eggs and he likes to bake with them.

"There's a richness to them, there's a freshness," he said. "And it's a special treat to meet the chickens and meet the farmer."

Kahn smiled.

"If you eat consciously, you realize there's this enormous relationship between how something is grown and how it tastes," Plone continued. "This is way better than some factory farm, where chickens are living on top of one another. That creates stress. Then you ingest the stress.

"Frankly," he said, "I have enough stress in my life."

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