Did you ever think about farming on a Brooklyn rooftop? Or any rooftop? That’s what Pamela Reed and her husband do. They feed themselves with their own crops from their rooftop “farm.” There’s a lot to this artistic woman and her equally artistic husband, Matthew, including their successful visual arts company Reed & Rader. When you visit BrooklynFarmGirl.com, you’ll find wonderful recipes, gardening info, art and fashion and great cat stories!
How does a girl from a mining town in Pennsylvania end up in New York City? And, why Brooklyn as opposed to Manhattan, Bronx, Greenwich Village…?
I went to art school in Pittsburgh where I met my creative partner and husband, Matthew. We are artists creating digital imagery in fashion and advertising (www.reedandrader.com) so NYC was the most relevant move in the United States. When we moved to NYC, Brooklyn was the first choice due to cost and size of a space, but nowadays Brooklyn is where all the artists are moving to just because it’s a great location with energy and creativity. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else in NYC but Brooklyn, I love it.
How does your family feel about you being in the big city?
They like to visit so it works out.
What is blue hair all about?
Blue hair is just about fun. In our work we play with characters often so this is just a way to express perhaps a future augmented self. I used to do all colors but nowadays I tend to stick with my blue.
You and your husband have this really cool garden on the roof of the building that you live in. What was the initial inspiration for that and how did you get started?
We are both from small towns where we both grew vegetables alongside our families as kids, so living in a concrete jungle, we got the itch to create a space where we could get our hands dirty again in some soil. In NYC there is so much empty space on rooftops so we felt like it would be the perfect spot to grow our own urban farm.
What do you do with the abundance of food that you grow?
We enjoy it mostly between the two of us, as I freeze and can everything to last us months. Even though tomato season mind end in September, we can still enjoy fresh tomato sauce in May which is pretty cool. I also share with our friends and neighbors.
Do you face any obstacles with your rooftop farm?
Being on a roof we have to deal with strong winds and a very reflective rooftop. We have to get creative with ways to protect it.
If someone else wanted to get started with a similar project, what you would you recommend they do first?
Start small and don’t get discouraged. Figure out what works and try new methods. Our containers we started with in the first year of the garden are not the containers we use now, but they were the first step to get us there. Also, not all plants are going to work out but just live and learn. Trust me, I’ve cried more than once.
Do you need a written plan of some sort to start gardening? Do certain vegetables need to be started at a certain time in order to be in the proper growing season?
I have a seed calendar on my blog: http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/seed-calendar/ It’s more specific to the Northeast.
Given all the recipes that you introduce regularly on your website, you have a passion for cooking. Where did that come from?
I don’t really know. My mom cooked as a kid but she was more a out of the box macaroni and cheese mom. I think I just get the passion from wanting to learn and wanting to make something from nothing. With growing all our vegetables it’s made me really search for new ways to enjoy and preserve them.
Any suggestions for someone who does not cook well (some people have tried everything) to get better?
The internet is your Oyster. There’s a how to video on anything!
Let’s talk about your family – your beautiful cats. Is introducing a new cat to the family easy, or were there challenges with each new introduction?
We live in a open loft space so introduction to new cats is pretty quick, we can’t exactly quarantine for days or weeks. With that said, all our cats get used to each other quickly and like all cats, they’ll bond over food. J
Your website is so very interesting. You speak on a variety of different subjects. How or when did you decide to live such an open and vocal life?
I consider my blog my own personal blog. It’s not a gardening blog, not a cooking blog, not a beauty blog, but it’s just my life. I work as an artist, but I garden often and I cook dinner every night. I’m obsessed with cats. I like pretty clothes and nails. Sometimes I think this can be confusing to my readers as perhaps most of them are into one of those things, but I try to have the same voice across all categories and bring them all together. Besides, who doesn’t love cats?
How did you and your husband create such a successful art company?
We just worked really hard and continue to do so today. We both come from blue collar families so artist was never an occupation we heard growing up. It still confuses our families on how we make a living.
You seem to be so full of happiness and optimism. What gives? How do you do that?
I’m just like everyone else, I get happy and I get sad. I think there’s many blogs out there that try to put on this “always happy, my world looks like a perfect pinterest board” but I think that’s really discouraging to readers and has to be emotionally draining on the blogger. I just try to be me and share things that I think might cause other people happiness.