Notes and Notices

On art, architecture and design

1/17/2011

LA Living: Robert the Home Grower

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

A lifetime ago, Robert was a high-flying man with an international business designing trade show booths for independent film companies. But one night, a gas leak and an explosion later, that all changed. "I lost everything," says Robert. What was left was Robert's renewed outlook on life.

After the incident, Robert--who had grown up in Upstate New York--rediscovered his need for a different kind of life. He set up a new lawn mowing business and cultivated his childhood love for gardening.

I met Robert initially for an article (which you can find here), but as our conversation about chard, tomatoes and sunlight progressed, I got to know a wise, centered man who knows his priorities.

He lives in what he calls a "cottage of a place," grows veggies where he can and keeps his lawn mowing business to make ends meet. That's it. No thoughts of world domination or instant jackpots. "[This lifestyle] really allowed me to regroup with who I am and have a simple take on life."

If you have brunched at Silver Lake eatery Forage, you'll would also have come in contact with Robert tangentially. He's partly responsible for the crisp, fresh vegetables that chef Jason transforms into delicious dishes every day. Robert is part of Forage LA's Home Growers Circle, a small community of urban gardeners certified by the state as a viable food source for Forage. "It just gives me such a sense of pride when people taste what vegetables actually taste like," shares Robert.

Say hi to:

Robert Coughlin
Home Grower


Which part of LA do you call home? Silver Lake

Where would you take visitors to see the real LA?
  • "I love Forage. It's that kind of place where you're all cozy and you kind of have to bump elbows with everyone."
  • Mimi's Cafe on Los Feliz.
  • There's also an Indian place at a strip mall near my home. I forget what it's called. "You can’t really judge the restaurant from the outside, you have to go inside. It can be really tacky on the outside, but be really wonderful inside."
How would you describe your life now?
"As simple as possible. It’s my goal every day to live in the moment. I do practice trying to stay in the here and now. Something I learned from my experience."

Photo courtesy of Forage LA

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