Sunday, May 31, 2009

We Want Your Yard!

I just heard about this great organization taking off in Canada.  It's called Sharing Backyards, and it matches folks with gardening instincts but no space with folks with space but no time/resources/interest to garden, or perhaps they garden, but have space left over to share.  If you think about it, this idea is incredible on so many levels: 

  1. Unused garden space is utilized for food (and/or flower) production
  2. 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
  3. It beautifies the neighborhoods
  4. It lessens the greenhouse effect with increased production of produce and vegetation, and less need for produce to be trucked cross-country
  5. A stronger message is sent to the 'BIG Grower' that we want more variety, more organics, and more locally grown produce
  6. It offsets the economic crisis at hand by lowering the cost of food
  7. It gets more people outside in the fresh air to move their bodies as they grow their food/flowers
  8. As the typically manicured yard space is used for garden, less gasoline hogging lawn/yard tools are necessary for maintenance
  9. 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
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.

Considerations for Sharing your Backyard Garden

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.

Time Considerations

  • How many hours per week will the garden space be available?
  • On which days of the week?
  • What time(s) of the day?

Tool Considerations

  • Do you have tools to share?
  • Where will they be stored?

Soil Considerations

  • 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?

Water Considerations

  • Can the gardener use the hose and water?
  • Who does the watering?
  • When?

Harvest Considerations

  • 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?
Make sure you check out their website if you are interested: Sharing Backyards.

1 comment:

Sharing Backyards said...

Hi there,

Thank you for giving coverage to our project -- I guess I'm seeing your post a few years late. We've made a lot of progress since you posted your article -- let me know if you're interested in an interview, and I'll fill you in on our progress (for starters, we're in over 40 cities in Canada, the US, and New Zealand). For any of your readers who are interested, we're looking for partners to start programs in their communities. Anyone interested can check out our information here:

Again, thank you for spreading the word.

Christopher Hawkins
Project Leader