Written by Karen Contreras, founder
The story of the sprout starts the way many logos do: the synergy of an artistic mind and a client’s idea. My creative genius Rick Newlin understood my passion for urban gardening and vision for what would eventually become Urban Plantations – so it didn’t take long to finalize the concept of a young plant as the identity of our corporate logo. Simple, right? Not exactly.
The vision of the sprout used today took its time revealing itself to me. I had recently moved from a home with a huge koi pond, citrus trees, California natives and a raised bed vegetable garden. One of the most difficult things to leave behind was the fig tree. It was gnarled, old and previously abused by owners using any excuse to rev up the chainsaw. After years of corrective pruning and a good dose of love, the fig tree regained its majesty and bore delicious burgundy figs. I didn’t know its variety but I have never tasted fruit so amazing before or since. The tree flourished and rebounded with such zeal that I asked some friends to build a beautiful pergola for support. It became truly a breathtaking sight.
After moving to our new home in North Park, I re-landscaped with a blend of edible plants and dodonaea, pink flax and kangaroo paws. I planted a baby Eureka lemon, Bearss lime and Meiwa kumquat tree. There was the obligatory herb garden, behemoth tomato plants – but alas, no room for a fig tree. I would never know the variety of fig nor taste fruit like that again. And, as silly as it sounds, I worried about that old fig tree. Would the new owner love it like I did? Would it once again be subject to chainsaw pruning?
Months passed. I was toiling at my job to pay bills and trying to get Urban Plantations off (or, rather, in) the ground. My sales manager called to nag about my numbers, again. I was fighting with the bank over a business loan, struggling to get proper advertising lined up and was watching the dollars fly out the window. Honestly, I was more than a little worried.
My neck ached as I imported and exported art files and talked with Rick about banners, bags and press kits. I stared out my window at the hanging potted cactus I had brought from my old home. There was a weed growing up in the pot that I’d casually watched and kept thinking, “I must pull that out before it overtakes the cactus.” But on this particularly stressful day, a light bulb went off. I recognized that weed…it was actually a sprout! A tiny little fig tree was reaching its three leaves towards my window.
While I sat in wonder of this small gift, I realized that Urban Plantations would grow into something huge like my beloved old fig tree. Growing our own food is a calming and rewarding experience. Almost all of us have a little dirt and access to water, and if a fig tree can find its way into a hanging pot and take root, imagine what we can do with a window box, trellis or side yard! Urban Plantations is more than a business; it’s a movement. It’s a new way of living that we simply must allow ourselves to enjoy.