Have you heard of edible yards? I hadn’t, until I read a great article in the Vancouver Sun by Randy Shore. Now I’m seeing edible yards everywhere in Vancouver.
Edible yards are, in essence, lawns that have been transformed into vegetable gardens. They’re a part of the larger urban agriculture movement, which sees vacant lots, rooftops and other idle spaces in and around cities used as land for small-scale farms.
The appeal of an edible yard is obvious. For starters, no more mowing and watering the lawn. And as a bonus, you get a bumper crop of fresh veggies right at your doorstep (literally).
A number of companies have sprung up to help Vancouverites turn their yards into lush vegetable gardens, including City Beet Farm, Yummy Yards and Inner City Farms. The way these businesses work seems like a win-win. They approach homeowners and ask if they can “rent” out their lawn and turn it into a mini-farm. Homeowners – who don’t have to do any of the hard work of gardening – get paid rent in the form of fresh vegetables. The remainder of the crop is then sold to other people or restaurants.
One hotspot for edible yards, according to the Vancouver Sun article, is the Riley Park neighbourhood (not far from Queen Elizabeth Park), between 18th and 29th Avenues. In some places, four yards on a single block have been turned into rich vegetable plots, full of delicacies like rainbow chard, beans, lettuce, squash, potatoes and more. Once one yard in an area is planted, nearby lawns tend to “go edible” in quick succession.
But homeowners aren’t the only people benefitting from edible yards. Surplus vegetables are sold to the public through Community Supported Agriculture systems. Individuals or families can subscribe to get weekly food baskets, starting as low as $330 for an entire season for two people. In addition, the army of people who maintain and harvest Vancouver’s edible lawns are largely volunteers who opt to get paid in fresh vegetables.
What do you think of the idea of having an edible yard? Chime in below.
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