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Posts Tagged ‘collaborative comsumption’

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See how Landshare.net connects growers to people with land to share

Every yard is a farm

I’ll admit, I can’t walk past a neighbor’s front yard without calculating how much food could be grown on it. To me, every patch of grass is a potential farm. It seems that at least 52,000 people agree with me. That’s how many have signed on with two popular websites that match those who have land with those who want to garden, a practice popularly known as landshare.

Front yard veggies in Boulder, CO

People are growing produce and even raising ducks and chickens on neighbors’ lawns, spare farmland, business campuses, church property, highway median strips, and public parks—anywhere there is useable land. While community plots and other forms of garden sharing have been prevalent for years, technology has given the landshare concept global legs, amping its visibility and making connections within an active community of growers simple and quick.

Meet two landshare pioneers

Perhaps the best known landshare evangelist is the gregarious UK celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who in 2009 partnered with public-service broadcaster Channel 4 to launch Landshare.net, a free website that matches landowners with growers. You can catch Hugh in action and learn about some of the projects in place on the site’s video library. Landshare has expanded to Australia and Canada and recently partnered with SharedEarth.com, the largest garden sharing site in the U.S.

SharedEarth's Adam Dell

SharedEarth.com also made its debut in 2009, inspired by founder Adam Dell’s own garden sharing experience. As the Austin, TX internet entrepreneur relates in a recent Treehugger interview, “I wanted a garden, but I don’t have the time or know-how to garden myself. So I put an ad on Craigslist and within a couple of days I had several responses. The ad said, ‘I’ll provide the land, water and materials if you’ll provide the work. We can share the produce 50-50.’ I found a credible person who loves gardening, but lives in an apartment. We met, came up with a plan and she got to work.”

Adam began to research community gardens. When he discovered that most of them have long waiting lists, he built SharedEarth.com to make it easier for eager gardeners to find land. It worked. Together, SharedEarth.com and Landshare.net represent more than 5,000 acres of shared land in cultivation. As both sites point out, the list  of would-be gardeners is far longer than that of available land.

Be a landsharer

I invite you to re-imagine your lawn, office park, or that patch of ground next to city hall as abundant sources of delicious, healthy food. Here’s some inspiration:

  • Urban Patchwork, an Austin, TX project that turns local homeowners’ yards into vegetable gardens.

More landshare sites

Permaculture principles at work

  • Obtain a yield
    (Make sure you’re getting valuable results)
  • Design from patterns to details
    (Observe natural/social patterns and apply them to design)
  • Use small, slow solutions
    (Local resources and responses, manageable scale)
  • Use and value diversity
    (Diversity leads to greater resilience)

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