In the opinion of Joseph Swain, fast food has had its day and it's time for "slow food" to hold sway.

In the opinion of Joseph Swain, fast food has had its day and it's time for "slow food" to hold sway.

Swain is a farmer. He lives in Clintonville. On the Swainway Urban Farm.

If Swain had his way, most people would be, at least a little bit, farmers as well. And he's willing to help people learn to start growing their own food "on whatever scale they want."

Of all those currently selling produce they grow themselves at the Clintonville Farmers Market, Swain probably has the fastest commute.

"We have bakers in Clintonville, but farmers? I think Joseph is it," said Laura Zimmerman, the market's manager.

Other urban farmers from the Columbus area have booths at the market, which possibly reflects a growing trend in the food sustainability movement.

"It doesn't take a farm to have the heart of a farmer," according to Urban Farms magazine, which debuted in August 2009. "Now, due to a burgeoning sustainable-living movement, you don't have to own acreage to fulfill your dream of raising your own food.

"Urban farms are popping up all over America. However, things are different on an urban farm, versus a rural hobby farm. With less space to work with, projects must be scaled down, efficiency becomes crucial, and one must be resourceful to use every inch of space and recycle every unused object into something useful."

"We haven't sought urban farmers," Zimmerman said. "The urban farmers come to us, but really when one thinks about it urban farming isn't a new concept."

A mere 75 years ago, she added, her Clintonville home had a huge garden, practically a small farm, and that was the case with many properties in the neighborhood.

"Perhaps what's different about Joseph is that he does this for a living," Zimmerman said. "It's neither a hobby garden nor a supplemental food garden, but he's actually working a farm in the city to feed others as well.

"But I say it's in the best tradition of Clintonville gardens."

Swain, who is currently selling shiitake mushrooms, organic seedlings and pea shoots at the Saturday market, is a native of northern Indiana who came from what he describes as a "blue-collar background." He worked in paving highways and other aspects of road construction for a decade before moving to San Francisco for a few years.

Swain first came to Columbus in 2006 to attend an Electric Light Orchestra concert, liked the city and people he met, and decided to settle in a home on Canyon Drive with about a third of an acre that was used for an organic garden.

Swain said he "didn't intend to start an urban farm here by any means."

Weekly visits to the Clintonville Farmers Market led to Swain getting to know some of the sellers.

"The culture was really great," he said. "It was a group of people who were interested in eating good food."

The Canyon Drive garden grew through 2008 and 2009, as did Swain's knowledge of the sustainable food movement, leading him to begin volunteering at the farmers market.

Realizing that a sort of "food revolution" was going on and that people were interested in building up the local food supply, Swain decided to start a business selling his organically grown produce.

Swainway Urban Farm was born.

While it's only a third of an acre, Swain said, virtually everything that takes place on a full-sized farm is replicated on the Canyon Drive lot.

When he tells people he lives on a farm and that it's in Clintonville, Swain said he gets puzzled looks.

"I feel like I kind of have to explain to people that it's a micro-farm," he said. "You do kind of have to translate the idea.

"This is truly farming."

In the ground now, awaiting the time they are ready for harvesting for sale at the Clintonville Farmers Market, are radishes, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, tomatillos and cucumbers, along with other greens and a wide array of herbs.

In addition to selling the seedlings and fresh vegetables, Swain also offers consulting and garden building services.

"We call it food landscaping," he said. "We have plants, except ours produce food."

Swain pronounced himself happy with the pathways that have led him to be an urban farmer.

"I absolutely love it," he said. "I'm living the dream right now, working for myself and running a business that's helpful and beneficial to other people."

More information is available at the farm's website,