Tami Purdue started Sweet Peas Urban Garden after a 23-year career at a corporate law firm. Her farming path began after working the cash register at a high school’s food bank. Tami talked with members of the Interfaith Food Shuttle, which was sponsoring a weekend workshop on urban farming.
At the workshop, Tami heard an urban farming pioneer speak - Will Allen, founder of the nonprofit Growing Power. Inspired by Allen’s mission to use inner cities to solve food insecurity, Tami began urban farming herself.
Tami started growing microgreens on her front porch, and then in a greenhouse. She sold to farmers markets and needed more space, so she purchased a CropBox – a retrofitted shipping container. Tami asked the company to modify the CropBox so it could be food safety certified, and thus the farm began.
Tami now grows microgreens in a modified hydroponic system on organic burlap. Seeds are scattered on the burlap, a pump runs twice a day for 7 minutes to water the plants, and micros are ready after 10-14 days. This system uses 90% less water than field cultivation, and no use of pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers.