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The Farmer’s Garden

June 22nd, 2011

 

Guest Blogger Maureen Farmer has come up with the perfect solution for all of you ‘locavores.’  She has created a mash-up of her passions (gardening + web development) and as a result started The Farmer’s Garden – Your Online Resource for Local Produce.

The Idea

A few years ago, I tried vegetable gardening in one 3 by 6 raised bed to save money, eat healthier and become more self-sufficient. I was so thrilled with the outcome that the next year I enrolled in my State’s Extension Service Master Gardener program. I discovered that I had a passion for growing vegetables and wanted to learn more about gardening in general.

Since then, every year I have expanded my garden by building one or two additional raised beds. Now I have eight raised beds and grow more varieties of vegetables and herbs every year. This year I’m trying potatoes and acorn squash for the first time. I also built a miniature greenhouse out of old metal storm windows so that I can extend my growing season. I also use it as a place to start my seedlings in the spring.

I tend to get a little carried away and end up harvesting more produce than I can eat, freeze and give away. I soon realized that I am delighted to give my extra vegetables and herbs away to my family, friends, and neighbors. People seem genuinely happy to receive a bag of mixed greens or a zucchini. As the saying goes – one of the most difficult things to give away is kindness; it usually comes back to you.

My current profession is a web application developer/project manager. Two years ago, I taught myself the PHP programming language to supplement my existing programming skills. Home gardening is growing more popular every year and everyone enjoys just harvested homegrown produce. I had the idea to combine my profession and passion to create The Farmer’s Garden so everyone can have access to locally grown food.

It’s Easy

The Farmer’s Garden is the place to post free classified ads to sell, trade or give away your excess backyard produce. Individuals and food pantries can also register and post wanted classifieds. Free registration is required to post a classified (we need to know your zip code for it to work), but anyone can search for ads within their local area.

If you’re looking for fresh locally grown seasonal produce, visit The Farmer’s Garden website. Simply enter your US zip code, select the radius that you are willing to travel and see what people in your area have to offer. Share your surplus harvest with people in your area. You’ll be surprised how wonderful a small act of kindness will make you feel.

Many backyard gardeners also grow varieties of produce not found in your local grocery store. This is a terrific opportunity to taste new foods. If you don’t know how to prepare something, ask the grower. He or she will probably offer you several tasty recipes to try. You might even make a new friend in the process.

Join Us

The Farmer’s Garden is relatively new, so if you don’t find what you’re looking for today, try again next week. We have registered users in almost every state and the number of visitors to the website has been steadily increasing every month. We’re growing every day.

About the Author: 

 Maureen Farmer is a master gardener and has loved plants all her life. She enjoys growing vegetables, herbs and flowers in her yard, writing gardening articles and giving advice to her acquaintances. She grows most of her own produce in homemade wooden raised beds.

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Urban Sharecropping: A Win-Win Situation

November 17th, 2010

 

If you’ve ever happily gardened then moved into a new apartment or home that did not have sufficient garden space or sun exposure, you know how frustrating it is to not be able to grow your own foods. And, if you’ve ever tried to enjoy the freshest foods possible from growing your own then realized your thumb is far from green, you know the disappoint that ensues from genuinely wanting the best to no avail.

Today there are more opportunities for people to work together to obtain the joys of gardening and best foods for eating. One opportunity is through urban sharecropping, where gardeners partner with homeowners to reap the bounties of freshly grown foods. The gardener tends to a garden that they prepare in a homeowner’s yard then both parties split the harvest.

It’s a win-win situation and it makes perfect sense, especially when someone has a big yard that goes unused and there is someone else who is itching to dig in the dirt and enjoy the many rewards from gardening.

One business that helps gardeners and homeowners connect is Sharing Backyards, whose goal is to make sure that anyone who wants to garden and grow food for themselves can. With programs across the globe, from Berkeley, CA to Wellington, NZ to Edmonton, AB, Sharing Backyards helps to make healthy, local, organic food access to many people a reality.

For an interesting article on urban sharecropping read ‘The Rise of the Lazy Locavore,’ via The Wall Street Journal | Food & Drink.

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