Outdoor Guide | Gardening

Urban Agriculture

A couple in Providence's West Side operate a small, woking farm complete with vegetables, chickens and bees

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When newlyweds Michael and Jen Gazdacko were deciding what to do with the lot they own next to their house in the Armory District on the West Side of Providence, “livestock” wasn’t their first thought. But one trip to bee school and two successful growing seasons later, the couple has a small working city farm they call Barking Dog Farm. Yellow Lab puppy Sophia “isn’t the barking dog,” Jen says. “She’s the quiet one. Teddy, a silky terrier, is the barking one.”

They’re in their third growing season, cultivating extensive vegetable beds, including a Thai garden inspired by their honeymoon in Thailand. Barking Dog is also home to six chickens – Scituate (a Rhode Island Red), Pot Pie, Kentucky, Jailbird, Big Mama and Little Mama – and about 30,000 bees. “We’ve always wanted bees,” Jen explains. “It’s really good for our neighbors who have gardens, because they pollinate. We get a lot of credit for any bees on the West Side – I think the gardens are doing better because of them.”