Suburban Lawns Become Mini Farms
Fleet Farming strives to reduce the environmental impact of food production through a pedal-powered, hyperlocal urban farming model that creates a culture of health and vibrant ecosystems by: teaching an intergenerational fleet of volunteers how to grow their own food, activating and re-engaging the community through biweekly Swarm Rides, and creating a breathe free and biodiverse environment through emissions-free, organic farming.
In Florida, homeowners have a propensity for landscaping. They take great pride in the green carpet of grass in front of their homes. But one Florida man is working on a project that's turning his neighbors' lawns into working farms.
Chris Castro has an obsession — turning the perfectly manicured lawns in his Orlando neighborhood into mini-farms.
"The amount of interest in Orlando is incredibly surprising," Castro says.
Surprising because he's asking Floridians to hand over a good chunk of their precious yards to volunteers who plant gardens full of produce. His program is called Fleet Farming, and it's starting off small, with 10 of these yard farms. Most of them sit smack in the middle of the front yard.
Lawns are a thing here. Urban farms? Not so much. But so far, no neighbors have complained.
Homeowners agree to let their yard be used as a farmlette for at least two years, and they can eat some of the food grown in their yard. While volunteers do maintain the gardens, the organization encourages homeowners to be as involved as they’d like.
The idea has sparked interest around the country, and Fleet Farming offers kits so other communities can implement their own programs. Volunteers in Oakland, California started a Fleet Farming, and sell the food they harvest to restaurants in the area.
Florida residents are excited about the program too; 300 families are already on the waiting list to give their lawns to the cause.