Brooke + Urbavore. Kansas City Lifestyle Photographer.
Dirt under fingernails, sun-dried sweat salted across tanned freckled foreheads, tired muscles aching under thin, faded jersey. Maybe it was the way she walked through the green, running her fingers along the blades as she walked, her gait steady, grounded, confident. It was hers. Maybe it was the joy her child radiated as he followed along, reaching for strewn toys in the pasture, laughing, playing, at home. And then, the way he talked of what they grew, calling the sprouts by names, puckered lips closing around messy, juicy freshness. The way they moved together, separately, spreading between rows of leaves and sprigs and lines and yet finding each other again to tickle and touch and then again to race and play. All in all, the beauty, the magic, the it, well, it was the way they were at home in the land, the way it was wide and long and great and yet small to hold them close enough to know them and be known in every inch and place.
I spent an evening on the farm, learning the story, admiring, I couldn't help but inspired by the dedication. It's a way more than just belief, more than just a way of life, it's a way of existence, a commitment to everything beautiful, everything real, growing, nurturing, sharing, living. Meet Brooke Salvaggio of BADSEED and URBAVORE (diversified organic farmstead).
Tell us about your business and the product/service you provide.
I am an organic farmer and food activist. My husband and I own & operate the BADSEED - a "green" events space in the Crossroads Arts District that celebrates local food, culture, and community. We host a weekly organic farmers' market where conscious consumers can purchase seasonal delights such as heirloom produce, grass-fed meats, artisan cheese, freshly milled flour, wholesome baked goods, free-range eggs, etc. Our own farm products are the centerpiece of this eclectic urban market. Our organic vegetables & fruits are produced on 13.5 acres of urban land just 5 miles east of the Country Club Plaza. The farm, known as URBAVORE, is among the largest urban farms in the nation. We pride ourselves in flavor-packed, nutrient dense foods grown with a whole lotta' love using "beyond-organic" practices.
What keeps you going on the difficult days and drives your inspiration to continue forward?
On a farm it is do or die. The plants and animals (much like children) cannot be ignored. So I suppose it is that "sense of urgency" that keeps me going despite aching bones and emotional stress. But more than that, it is a sincere love for the land that keeps a fire in my gut. I am obsessed with every aspect that composes my farm from the microorganisms in the soil to the fungi growing on the foliage of an apple tree. It is all alive, it is all relevant, and it all has something very profound to teach me.
How do you find and maintain balance with your family and your business?
I'd be lying if I said there was balance! I'm exhausted (mentally, physically, & emotionally) and pretty darn stressed out all of the time. It's not ideal, but no one said it would be easy. At this point in the game, I don't get time for myself. I take care of my son's needs and the needs of the farm & the business...(needless to say, those needs are never ending). Our land was completely raw when we bought it, so that means we are building a farm and our physical home from the ground-up with our own two hands. That's a tall order and we simply take it one day at a time. It's not pretty, it's not graceful, and we don't pretend to have all the answers. One thing I do know is that I love my son dearly, and therefore I make sure (no matter how chaotic the day may be) to be present with him, meet his needs, and to step-back and enjoy his ever evolving personality and character.
What are you most proud of as a mompreneur?
I'm not proud, just humble. Pride has always gotten me into trouble. Sometimes I wonder if it is right to strive for so much when the health of a family is at hand. I struggle with understanding my relentless motivations towards farming and entrepreneurship when motherhood itself is such a worthy & challenging profession. I guess I'm just "proud" to have remained honest with myself and true to my values. Heck, there are a lot of days where I don't feel like a good farmer or a good mother! But at least I can recognize my feelings and call things as they are.
What encouragement can you give to other women and mothers?
It's okay to resent motherhood...believe me, those days will come! I've always felt so darn guilty for wishing I "had my life back" or wanting to turn and run after another sleepless night or never-ending tantrum. You don't have to love this...(because we love our children despite all of it). Don't be so hard on yourself. You are not alone.
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