Oh yes. I can think of so many great reasons for making use of such a program. Currently, I believe the bulk of Sharing Backyards' programming is in Canada, with a smattering of connections in Portland, Oregon, Washington DC and Boise, Idaho. But they are looking for others willing to offer their yards, and will assist in connecting them up with eager gardeners. According to the Sharing Backyards website, 40% of our communities have no access to soil to grow their own food, while a full 60% have access but do not always make use of it. Do you have space for gardening that you are willing to share with others? Below are the considerations from the Sharing Backyards website for becoming a land partner, which is free. They do support organic practices, and are looking for those who do the same.
- Unused garden space is utilized for food (and/or flower) production
- Community members are put in regular contact with each other - you get to meet new folks who have yard space, or you connect with old friends regularly as you use their yard
- It beautifies the neighborhoods
- It lessens the greenhouse effect with increased production of produce and vegetation, and less need for produce to be trucked cross-country
- A stronger message is sent to the 'BIG Grower' that we want more variety, more organics, and more locally grown produce
- It offsets the economic crisis at hand by lowering the cost of food
- It gets more people outside in the fresh air to move their bodies as they grow their food/flowers
- As the typically manicured yard space is used for garden, less gasoline hogging lawn/yard tools are necessary for maintenance
- It helps people of all ages become more aware of how they nourish their bodies, and how much energy is necessary to produce their food
There are no restrictions on how you might choose to share your space - however there are a number of issues that you might want to consider when making arrangements to share your gardening space with another member of your community.
- How many hours per week will the garden space be available?
- On which days of the week?
- What time(s) of the day?
- Do you have tools to share?
- Where will they be stored?
- Is there enough soil?
- Who will pay for soil amendments?
- What types of amendments or additives are acceptable?
Seeds / Transplants
- Who will provide the seeds and/or transplants?
- How will decisions be made about what is grown?
- Can the gardener use the hose and water?
- Who does the watering?
- Who will harvest the food?
- How will the harvest be distributed?
Privacy and Security Considerations
- Who can enter the garden? (children, partners, friends, pets)
- What space can be used? (shed, basement, bathroom)
- What about locks and gates?
- Emergency contact numbers?