The Next-Door Neighbors

Robert Cleary

I moved to Meeting House Road the summer before my first year of middle school. For the first few years, the old white colonial that my bedroom window faced always seemed lifeless. Rumors of the house being haunted even circled the naive brains of my fellow neighborhood friends and I. I’m not sure anyone occupied it for some period of time. Then, during my high school years, a family of four with two big dogs moved in. Little did we know what kind of transformation our backyard view would undergo. It all started with a few small white planters filled with assorted vegetables and herbs. The neighbors were beginning a multi-year project of building a backyard organic farm. About a year after the planters came a chicken coop. These feathered friends would roam their backyard and occasionally find their way into ours. I remember the sounds of waking up and hearing their clucks to start my day. Soon after came more and more planters, a white farm fence, and a fully operating local organic farm.

This farm does not fit the mold of what you may typically visualize. The farm is located in an everyday suburban neighborhood on a half acre piece of land. You may ask why they would choose to farm in such a small, populated area. We wondered that too, so my parents asked them. The answer they gave is very intriguing, being that they wanted their kids to live a “normal” suburban life while also sustaining their passion for organic farming. Seeing their once barren backyard turn into a thriving farm full of life was very rewarding and I am excited to see what they have in store for the future. As someone who hasn’t been exposed to that type of living before, it was very eye opening to watch them engage in such a lifestyle.
Planters similar to their yard
Chickens similar to what they kept
The house that they lived in