wise elephant, making it happen

Lawns to Gardens (abandoned lots to gardens, too)

By Jason Moriber • Sep 8th, 2009 • Category: Loose Ends, Thinkering

Shawna Coronado’s recent post on Gardner Rant points out how green lawns can be put to use as food producing gardens. Not only for the owners consumption, but importantly to help feed the hungry. Stacey Murphy of bk farmyards notes in this video (I embedded the video below as well) that a 250 square foot patch of garden can feed 4 to 6 people for a 6 month period. Backyard Nature reports the average American lawn is 1/3 of an acre. That’s approximately 14,500 sq ft of potentially productive land per household or that, on average, a converted lawn can feed 230 people.

In her post Ms. Coronado notes the importance of, and reliance on, community involvement, and calls on her fellow gardeners to lead the charge. I’ve read similar calls to action over the past year, and seen how-to books (Edible Estates) on turning your front lawns into gardens. The problem is many people who do want to take advantage of the edible-potential of their grass lawns don’t have the time to devote to making a garden grow.

The Creative solution: A Decentralized Farming Network; allow farmers to garden your land for you; you gain fresh foods, the farmers harvest the remainder and sell it locally. To date I have only heard of NYC-based bk farmyards, who are building a business based on this approach, seeking backyards as well as unused urban lands. It’s genius and is a great example of an expansive creative economy.

How can this approach also feed the hungry? Frances Moore LappĂ©, in a Yes! magazine article, “The City that Ended Hunger,” writes a case-study on the benefits of a related type of farming network. In the city of Belo Horizonte the mayor put a framework in place for local family farms, and entrepreneurs, to prosper while providing affordable locally-grown nutrition to those in need.


NYC’s Cool New Backyard Farms: Growing More Than Just Produce from SkeeterNYC on Vimeo.

Jason Moriber is a veteran product/project/marketing manager, underground artist/musician, and online community developer, Jason expertly builds/produces/manages clients' projects, programs, and campaigns. Follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/jelefant
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