[NAFEX] Octogenarian Charlie Koiner Leads the Way in City Farming

mIEKAL aND qazingulaza at gmail.com
Fri Oct 2 14:00:05 EDT 2009

Octogenarian Charlie Koiner Leads the Way in City Farming


Only one block from a typical urban strip in downtown Silver Spring, MD,
that includes an old parking garage, a beauty parlor and an Ethiopian
restaurant, Charlie Koiner, who’ll be 88 in November, still has a farm. It’s
hard to believe, but turning east onto Easley Street off Fenton, in the
course of one block, you shift from urban grime to fertile rural splendor,
from the cramped seat of your hot car to a comfy lawn chair under a mature
shade tree, from the usual “rodent issue” to a farm cat named Hank.

Like the proverbial turtle, slow and steady, Charlie Koiner seems to have
won the race, as his lifetime of farming and gardening has propelled him
from “regular guy” to local pace-setter, an icon of the “new” urban
agriculture. You first realize you’re at his place when, right there on the
corner, you get a glimpse of his current offerings on a handmade sign – for
example, “figs,” “raspberries” and “tomatoes” right now in September. Then
you see the whole thing: his acre -- which appears much larger amid the
neighborhood of modest World War II era homes with neat little yards – is
brimming with a stunning variety of vegetables, berry bushes and fruit
trees.  Multicolored zinnias and gladioli, and magenta cockscomb celosia in
the central plot give the whole place a festive atmosphere.

“It’s great!,” says Koiner’s neighbor Karla Saunders. “No one believes me
when I tell them I have a farm in my block,” she says. “There’s something
quite comforting about the sign that tells you what’s available. It just
feels out of place and out of time.”

(much more online including some photos)
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