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No Garden? No problem. New Urban Farming Models

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on September 7th, 2009

Article by David Tracey, The Tyee News, B.C.


The first odd thing about Cam Macdonald’s Mt. Pleasant lawn is that it isn’t a lawn. It’s a farm. Standing out amid the typical suburban sea of grass patches are his potatoes, carrots, beets, peas, shallots, squash, parsnips and more — enough to have given food to 70 people by the beginning of July.

The second odd thing is that it isn’t even Cam’s yard. It belongs to Heidi Gigler and Jug Sidhu, a non-gardening couple who heard about Cam’s soul search for right livelihood last year and agreed to let him pursue it by turning their turf into food. Does this small but significant act of land karma represent the beginning of a profound challenge to our very notions of private property and home ownership? Or is it just a simple way for a few more people to eat a little more food from where they live — a driving force behind the soaring popularity of urban agriculture? In any case, it’s working. Cam is on his way to what could become a career, and the couple are thrilled with the look and taste of their front yard.

“The problem,” said Heidi, “is it’s hard to keep up with the food.” They give some of the excess away to neighbours, including people they hardly knew before the creation of the front yard farm. “Now we’re having constant conversations… It’s really created a community.” Cam sees it as a first step. With his three partners, he hopes to hone his skills into a profitable business next year. Not bad for a guy who just got started in urban farming with little experience beyond “a year of reading a lot, talking to a lot of people who know what they’re doing and just doing it.”  It’s only fair to mention that he did know a few things about indoor plants, having grown them during a self-apprenticeship in horticulture for which he now credits the Vancouver Police Department because it didn’t arrest him. Of course growing food crops outdoors is different, but he swears it’s not at all difficult. His advice: “Anyone can do it.”

Article by David Tracey, The Tyee News, B.C.

Some Melbourne examples include Very Edible Gardens and Permablitz.

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