A Business Model for Farming the Front Yards of Suburbia

Combine peak oil with 1,500 mile farm to table transportation costs and 10 calories of fossil fuel energy consumed for every 1 calorie of food energy produced, and you have the perfect formula for a looming food crisis. I’ve speculated in the past that we will have to return to the citizen farmer victory gardens of WWII to build a secure bridge to a more sustainable food delivery system, however a Colorado entrepreneur has demonstrated that there is money to be made in converting the front lawns of suburbia into the organic farms of the future.

Transforming Suburban Landscaping from Ornamental to Edible

Kipp Nash under the banner Community Roots has created a suburban front yard farm network in South Boulder Colorado’s Martin Acres neighborhood. Homeowners donate their yards and Nash replaces their front lawns with beautiful and edible organic vegetable plots. Nash manages all of the planning, planting, weeding, irrigating, and harvesting and the homeowners are paid in organic produce. Community Roots sustains its operation by selling excess produce at local farmers markets or through it’s own CSA.

This is a business model that is healthy, local, sustainable, profitable, ecological and destined to grow by duplication in communities around the nation.

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4 responses to “A Business Model for Farming the Front Yards of Suburbia

  1. sunsetbeachguy

    Pretty slick, it probably only works in neighborhoods without Homeowner’s Assocations.

    Most HOA’s in CA effectively prohibit solar even though state law says they can’t.

    So garden’s in the front yard probably fall into the same category.

  2. it probably only works in neighborhoods without Homeowner’s Assocations

    That won’t be an issue in 10 years when the Hummers have rusted out and gas is 8.00/gal and the store is 6 miles away with no bike lane.

    This business model is what I’m going to be doint in, oh, 11 years.

    Best,

    D

  3. Thanks Dano,

    Good point, but only $8 per gallon! I think we will be well over that in 10 years and it will only take one food crisis in America to convert Homeowner Associations from the lawn police into the equivalent of your local grange.

    John

  4. I’ve created hyperlocavore.com a social network for yardsharing groups in part to encourage yardsharing arrangements, both for formal suburban farming arrangements and less formal group growing arrangements between friends, family and neighbors.

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