A simple idea led two women into a thriving new agricultural enterprise. Creating backyard mini-farms for homeowners who want to start growing their own fresh herbs and vegetables, but lack the time or know-how to do it themselves. A considerable amount of food can be grown in a small area of land, and depending on one’s geographic location, the food can be grown outdoors throughout much of the year. As food prices rise, these types of mini-farms take on new economic meaning!
It’s no easy task being a farmer. What makes it even more challenging these days is to find affordable land in the first place. I hear frequent stories along these lines from those just starting out, and, from those who have been farming for awhile. The veteran farmers shake their heads and say something has to change if we’re going to rely on getting our food locally.
That’s why when I heard about Donna Smith and Robyn Streeter of Your Backyard Farmer, I got really excited! For the right farmer, and the right landowner, this is such a no-brainer. It’s one of those why-didn’t-I-think-of-that moments! There is so much unused garden space in people’s backyards, most covered in grass (resource intensive, and inedible for humans), many of these plots would make a suitable space for a food garden.
Donna says you’d be surprised by the amount of food that can be harvested from a relatively small space. She figures 100 square feet of space will feed at least one adult (up to a family of 2) throughout the growing seasons (this will vary by geographic region). Picture it, a 10 by 10 bed or plot; that’s not so big. Multiply the number of people you’d like to feed in your family by that 10 X 10 figure, and that’s roughly the amount of growing space you will need to keep your family well stocked with fresh vegetables and herbs (PDF).
So many communities and organizations around the world are looking at creative ways to bring good, clean, fresh food closer to home. There’s City Farmer in Vancouver, BC; Pittsburgh, PA; and Middlesbrough, UK. A successful campaign spearheaded by Kitchen Gardeners International to create a White House Garden serves as powerful inspiration for many of us to start working on our own backyards!
There are lots of different ways ( Resources For City Farms ) to accomplish this effort of growing and providing food locally and lots of folks working hard to make it happen. Do you have other ideas to share? Or, know of other groups that are working toward bringing food home…right to your doorstep? Building a local food economy is just one more step toward a more sustainable way of living. A win-win for everyone including our planet.