Reed Magazine February 2005
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Ten years ago, Laura Masterson '91 created a unique city farm – and farm community – at her kitchen table

By Todd Schwartz

Beets. Broccoli. Brussels sprouts.

Just southeast of the Reed College campus, less than a mile as the city-plump crow flies, is the surprising bounty of 47th Avenue Farm. Turn off Woodstock Boulevard, wait for the street to go to gravel and potholes, and discover what looks simply like a big old house on a double lot. But once a week, hungry reader, this is a city cornucopia. This is a new breed of farm town sporting a street address–home to 300 or 400 veggie-loving hopefuls, held in nature's hands. This is the harvest of Laura Masterson's hopes.

On the long porch, the founder of farm and community kicks thick plugs of earth from her work boots, reaches into a box, and pulls out a pale green vegetable that looks like cauliflower as it might grow somewhere in the Andromeda galaxy.

"I love this variety," she says, spinning it in the chill air. "Look how it forms these elegant fractal patterns."

It is then you understand, if it hadn't been clear before, that this Reed biology graduate may not be your average farmer.

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Reed Magazine February