Urban Micro Farming Power: The Story of Lincoln Street Farm and Growing Food For the...

Food: Interviews & Features

Nat and Nico Dicou bring the community tons of home-grown goodies and self-care products made by hand.
Photo: John Barkiple

Whether Nat and Nico Dicou realize it or not, their micro-farm and small business, Lincoln Street Farm, stands as a blueprint for intentional and sustainable pursuits. When the pandemic hit in March 2020 the Dicous were working office jobs. It became clear to them how valuable their time was and how much more rewarding it felt to be fully engaged with what they love—creating and backyard growing. Since then, the Lincoln Street Farm has been providing unique seedlings, produce and homemade self-care products to the Salt Lake Valley from their homestead and micro farm.

 

“Gardening is such a positive addiction”

Nico had been into gardening for years, and when the two moved in together, Nat’s affinity for gardening sprouted, too. “Gardening is such a positive addiction,” Nat says. “It becomes the food you eat, the sunlight you feel and meditative exercise. You watch everything come to fruition— surprises, successes, failures and all.” The house where they fostered the micro-farm was built the same year Utah officially became a state in 1896. The iconic greenhouse is an original at-home build-a-greenhouse-kit from 1905 composed of safety glass and chicken wire. The mini-orchard, cascading tomato vines and strings of twinkly lights provide the perfect backdrop for the small-scale farm production.

The Dicous’ 0.2 acre has hosted two seedling sales this year with over 50 types of heirloom tomato varieties. Their “Grow at Home” seedling soirées have offered the community a local option first as “opposed to whatever Lowe’s has in stock,” Nico says. Their driveway gate is swung open for the event so local gardeners can walk beside the repurposed wooden garden beds, freestanding crops and candle-making shed in the back. Through the support the Dicous have seen, it’s clear how much the Salt Lake crowd enjoys visiting their space. “The community finds us and keeps coming back,” Nico says. “It is like a living organism that we keep attending to, feeding it and creating something together.”

The Dicous treat their land with a loving care and respect.
Photo: John Barkiple

For September, the product they’re most excited to share is the jelly melon cucumber. The thorny and oval-shaped fruit is neither a true cucumber nor melon, yet is bursting with both flavors. Referred to as a “dinosaur egg” by Farmers Market passersby, the Dicous are ready to share this satisfying fruit with Lincoln Street Farm patrons.

Garlic and heirloom tomatoes with names like Blue Tiger and White Currant will also be available throughout the fall. Another way the couple has incorporated garden goods into sellable products is by growing edible flowers. In place of grass, they’ve thoughtfully planted dahlias, roses and tulips in a field then dried and encased them in lollipops. By teaching the community how to propagate lavender, at-home gardeners have been inspired to bake and make syrups with organic lavender buds.

 

“Everyone can chip in and put food back into local neighborhoods.”

Lincoln Street Farm is a model of how communities can support each other.
Photo: John Barkiple

The Dicous demonstrate that by repurposing the resources you have and putting work into the land, it comes back to you tenfold. “Everyone can chip in and put food back into local neighborhoods,” Nico says. Urban farming and at-home gardening is a forgiving and rewarding pursuit because if a vegetable doesn’t work out the first time, the soil allows you to try again. As when cooking with new ingredients or beginning a new hobby, they remind us that you don’t have to start big to sell. “Just start with one pie or one candle, and go from there,” Nat says.

Through an intentional and symbiotic relationship with their garden, business and community, the Dicous set the example of how to grow your own food and make an impact through urban farming. “The community sees how we are always learning and that reflects on them,” Nico says. “They realize they don’t have to have every weed pulled up or be perfect either.”

Visit Lincoln Street Farm at the Pioneer Park Downtown Farmers Market on Saturdays, 8 a.m.–1 p.m., virtually at lincolnstreetfarm.com, or message Nat and Nico on Instagram @lincolnstreetfarm to stop by the micro farm itself.

“The community sees how we are always learning and that reflects on them,” Nico Dicou of Lincoln Street Farm says.
Photo: John Barkiple