Well, it’s almost Fall – just a few more days till Summer’s over. And I thought I’d share some of my recent thinking about Farm My Yard.
I started this effort a few years ago – with the hopes that thousands of signs would pop up in yards all over Portland and then the world. I figured it would be an amazing way to increase the amount of food being grown in urban settings and have a profound effect on the world. So far, the effect has been somewhat minimal – and I’m kicking myself that I haven’t put more energy into the project. Â I know somewhere down deep that if 100 signs were to be displayed, that would lead to some profound change. I imagine a world where we’re all spending more time growing our own food and helping each other learn how to get back to the garden
One thing that keeps ticking in my head is this – that if I had $1,000, I’d create the first batch of signs and hand them out at farmers’ markets. Â I have the $ to do this, but sort of feel that it would be great to crowd-source the funds and the effort. Â Because I don’t want this to be about me. Â I want this to be about our common survival and a more interesting future. Â So, I’m open to your thoughts. Â How do you think we can get there? Â Am I barking up the wrong tree? Â Is there a way I haven’t thought of? Â Do you want to be a part of this in some way?
I do have a donate button on this site – it leads directly to my bank account and so far I think $10 have been contributed. Â Perhaps a Kickstarter is the way to go. Â Perhaps it’s fine that this is going at the pace it is. Â I guess time will tell if I’m on the right track or not Â Thanks for listening.
your host, Albert Kaufman
Here’s a neat article that a local blogger wrote recent about Farm My Yard.
This just in
“I love suburbia not for what it is, but for what it could be. While most other houses on my street have grass lawns, my yard sprouts zucchinis, tomatoes, pomegranates, kale, spinach, apples, figs, guavas, almonds, garlic, onion, strawberries, and more. Over 500 plant species all in all. We grow more than 3000 pounds of food per year on a plot of land the size of a basketball courtâ€”enough fruits and vegetables to feed my family of four year-round. Our house is part of a growing global movement of people involved in urban farming.
The simple act of planting a garden can shape issues like economics, health, and politics at the same time because food is an essential focal point of human activity. As the urban farming movement grows, here are five ways that it will transform our world
1. Renewed local economies.Â Local neighbor-to-neighbor commerce generally doesnâ€™t happen in our communities. Residential areas almost never include common spaces where community exchanges might happen. Likewise, because selling homemade bread to your neighbors is illegal in most areas, the law discourages community commerce, and instead encourages you to purchase from the supermarket chain.
In my own community, the urban farming movement has reinvigorated local commerce. Instead of buying oranges, I now trade pumpkin for oranges from my neighborâ€™s tree. If urban farming continued to grow, it would cause a massive and positive economic disruption by introducing local food production that would compete with the corporate mainstream on price, quality, convenience, and level of service.
2. Environmental stewardship.Â Industrial agriculture is a major source of fossil fuel pollution. Petrochemicals are used to fertilize, spray, and preserve food. Plastics made from oil are used to package the food, and gasoline is used to transport food worldwide. Urban farming unplugs us from oil by minimizing the transport footprint and using organic cultivation methods.
While industrial agriculture often maneuvers to avoid paying for environmental externalities, urban farmers directly bear the ecological costs of their actions. This makes urban farmers better stewards of their land because they draw their nutrition from it. Rather than using chemicals that destroy soil biology, urban farming culture stresses sustainable organic techniques that enrich the topsoil.
3. A focus on local politics. Urban farming makes it clearer and easier for people to be involved in local politics by bringing issues that directly affect neighborhoods to the fore. Local regulations become far more relevant to the day-to-day life of a person attempting to cultivate their own food than most issues normally discussed on CNN. The growth of urban farming has already resulted in large-scale legal pushes like the California Cottage Food Act, which will allow people to legally sell certain homemade goods like jams and breads. Other neighborhood issues such as the raising of chickens, beekeeping for the production of honey, or the chlorination of water are already in the sights of urban farmers and environmentalists alike.
4. A revolution of health and nutrition.Â Increased awareness about the negative health effects of food from the industrial food chain is itself a big reason why urban farmers grow their own food. When you feed your produce to your family, youâ€™re less likely to douse it in poisons. Local food has more freshness, flavor, andÂ nutrient retentionÂ because it goes through less transportation and processing. As the urban farming movement grows, it will mean more accessibility to nutritious local food and more time spent doing the healthy physical work of gardening. This could result in less obesity, less chronic disease, and decreased healthcare spending.
5. A flowering of community interaction.Â Urban farming is a lifestyle inherently centered on community. Growing food is, after all, a cooperative effort. In my own community, I see that the knowledge of how and what to grow is exchanged, seeds are swapped, labor is shared, and the harvest is traded. As urban farming grows, a stronger interdependence within communities is likely to result as local food systems bring more community interaction into peopleâ€™s daily lives.
The most important movement of our time.Â Although there are many other notable initiatives today, the influence of urban farming is uniquely widespread because more people live in cities than rural areas and food is a central necessity that affects everything at once. The seeds of change are already being planted in homes like mine across the world. For these seeds to grow and blossom, we need to demand more local food so that the market for urban-grown produce expands. We also need to put pressure on our legal system to allow easier local trade and more local food production.
Imagine if we grew food instead of grass. Every community is a local food economy waiting to come to life. The answer to climate change, the health crisis, and the recession economy is right outside your door. Iâ€™ll meet you at the garden fence.”
Photos courtesy of Ro Kumar,Â editor ofÂ localblu.com, a blog covering urban farming and sustainability.
From:Â Marcia Danab <firstname.lastname@example.org> @Â 5715 NE 48th Ave., last housing the left of dead end street off of NE Killingsworth.
Garden space to share: Â Have you heard of the new “FARM MY YARD” movement? Do you wish you had a garden? *** I have GARDENING SPACE in the Ainsworth Street Collective area of the Cully Neighborhood that would like to share with you to farm/cultivate to your heart’s content! I am interested in developing a gardening partnership in trade for the space. There is a large, sunny area in my back yard (south and west exposure), several raised beds and trellises to support peas and beans. The garden area is tilled and ready for bedding down for spring planting. Only organic gardening methods used here for the past 10 years. I am hoping to develop a partnership with a wonderful, community oriented neighbor or neighbors who like to garden, and may be interested in growing food, but does not have the space. I’m gifted with the space, but limited with time due to a fully stretched lifestyle. We can cultivate, nurture, water, and fertilize this idea, growing it in a way that is mutually beneficial, rewarding and fun. If you are interested, please respond with a few sentences that summarize some points of interest about you. Here are some ideas: * How would your friends describe you? * What are your values, interests, and/or passions? * What kind of gardening would you like to do? Looking forward to harvesting with you! Farm my yard is an idea from my friend Albert. Feel free to visit his website at: http://farmmyyard.org/
I just put hemp protein powder in my smoothie. I wear hemp pants (and love them). As a farmer, I’d love to be able to grown my own and share it with friends. Let’s get some sensible marijuana legalization and hemp legalization going here in Oregon – vote yes, and encourage your friends to, also. Thank you!
Here are some useful links
Well, Fall is here at Farm My Yard HQ. It’s been a great Summer. Now we’re picking squash, cucumbers, melons, chard, kale and tomatoes. Thinking of what to plant. What would you plant this time of year in the Pacific Northwest? Â I had a great time last night at a Center for Earth Leadership event. They are a great organization that offers a number of programs. The one I took last year was an Agent of Change class – partially how I got the umpf to put this site and project together, actually. Â I got to hear Neil Kelly speak – he and his firm are leaders in sustainability and he’s been at it for years. A very inspiring speaker.
Have a great Fall. Â Who needs a sign! Â I’ve given away 3 in the last 2 weeks. Â Still more available and now is a great time to have someone help you farm your yard!
We just got our first financial contribution fromÂ Derek Grant – so sweet, thank you, Derek!
If you’d like to contribute to the cause donations are welcome! There’s a handy PayPal link on the right side of the page. Your contributions will be used to further the cause – I promise!
It’s been a fun summer of farming, and answering a lot of questions about what Farm My Yard is about. Â I’m also continuing to flesh that out in my own mind and am looking for a couple $ grand to get some signs printed out and take this idea for a spin.
I hope you had a great Summer!
Farm My Yard
From the email…
“Free rain barrels in Portland, Oregon to anyone who wants them. They are 55-gallon plastic drums that had innocuous substances stored in them, and come in a variety of styles (open-top, closed-top, blue/black/white) and are easily retrofit for spigots etc.”Â
CRIS BROCKWAY <email@example.com>