Tara Kolla

Best Urban Farming Guru, August 2009
Her fingers have a fine film of dirt, which means Tara Kolla is either tending to the plants on her half-acre farm in the Silver Lake hills or sifting through compost and potting soils as she explains the merits of worm casings (i.e., poop) or how to trap and remove pests. One-on-one tutorials at her home ($65 for 90 minutes) take place in sight of recently harvested loofahs (which are farmers’ market bound), flourishing rows of hops (to be shared with a friend who microbrews), cotton (the flowers make terrific bouquets), and sweet peas (her first cash crop after committing to urban farming in 2003). Kolla also offers classes—they can accommodate up to 12 people at $45 each—twice a month at Silver Lake’s Freight Foods or the Lycée International of Los Angeles in Los Feliz. The 90-minute discourses, delivered in a lilting British accent, cover everything from soil assessment to seedling care to crop rotation. Don’t let the lack of a yard prevent you from signing up; Kolla’s instruction includes how to grow your own food in containers. » Silver Lake Farms, 323-644-3700 or silverlakefarms.com.