Innovation That Matters

Homegrown vegetables, no green thumb needed

Property & Construction

Not long ago we wrote about permaculture and Australian Permablitz’s volunteer-based implementation of the concept in urban gardens around Melbourne. Now one of our spotters has come across the first for-profit example we’ve seen. Launched earlier this year, San Francisco-based My Farm calls itself a decentralized urban farm that grows vegetables in backyard gardens throughout the city. For anywhere between USD 600 and USD 1,000—depending on size—the company will install an organic vegetable garden in a customer’s back yard. My Farm will first test the ground for toxins and other soil-composition issues, and gardens can be as small as 4-by-4-feet or so large as to completely transform the back yard. Customers can also choose whether to produce just enough for their own family or whether to become owner-members producing enough for My Farm to sell as well. Either way, once the garden’s in, My Farm will maintain it using organic and permaculture techniques including drip irrigation and a compost pile; the company’s employees do most of the work by hand and travel by bicycle whenever possible. Maintenance costs are USD 20 to USD 35 per week, with discounts for owner-members. Then, of course, in addition to maintaining, My Farm will also harvest produce at its peak, leaving a basket of fresh veggies on the consumer’s doorstep when they’re done. For members, that basket includes some of the abundance produced by other backyard gardens as well, resulting in even more diversity. Finally, for those without their own gardens, My Farm’s produce is still available for delivery: a full basket, suitable for a small family, costs USD 35 per week, while a small box for one is USD 25. A like contender called Your Backyard Farmer reportedly operates on a similar model in Portland, Ore., according to the San Francisco Chronicle, and with food prices increasing the way they are, it’s a safe bet that more are on the way. After all, rather than face another week of plastic (and expensive) grocery-store tomatoes from across the planet, who wouldn’t invest a little extra cash to get their own garden producing the real thing? Website Spotted by: Stacy Jo McDermott



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