Columbia resident and city homesteader Josh Hulen describes how the staff of CCUA have helped him bring to fruition some of his plans for a sustainable residence in the Benton-Stephens neighborhood.
CCUA helped me start a small urban homestead and now I like to teach others how to be more sustainable. I heard about CCUA through many social circles in the Columbia community. I began to meet staff and learn more about them during their outreach efforts such as at their booth at the annual Earth Day celebration. Then in 2011 I started a counseling business, ABLE (Achieving Better Living with Empowerment), across the urban farm on Smith Street. I made this choice greatly on the fact that I would be close to them. It gave me an opportunity to learn more about the program as I quickly made friends with staff. I received great advice and had many opportunities to volunteer and get hands-on experience. Thanks to CCUA I finally gained the basic skills and confidence to begin my own urban homestead in the Spring of 2013.
This has been very empowering for me. ABLE is now well established as a counseling group and I would like to eventually expand the business to incorporate teaching sustainability with other helping/healing professionals at a wellness center. At the moment I am able to offer internships and volunteer opportunities at my homestead. I greatly appreciate CCUA for helping me along this journey.
With help from CCUA staff I was able to establish raised garden beds and chickens for egg production.
Support from Adam Saunders, advice from Carrie Hargrove, and hard work and consulting from Trish Woolbright have been imperative to my growth. With continued assistance from CCUA, a live-in intern helped me build more infrastructure and routine at my budding homestead last summer. In addition to tending the several growing spaces and raising laying hens, I now harvest rain, keep mushroom logs, use my own seasoned compost, and raise meat rabbits.
I have learned many aspects of growing food such as land analysis, permaculture designs and practices, strategic planting, pest management, and food preparation. Fermenting foods is a growing interest. I also have been developing the skill of wild foraging and sometimes experiment with DIY building from repurposed materials.
Josh Hulen discusses how he works with a growing network of sustainability-minded individuals and lists some of his future plans in the second part of this piece.