Even though doing it in some cities can earn you time in jail, growing at least some of your own food is a great way to start your journey toward total self-sufficiency.
The only problem is, the world’s population is moving away from the spacious suburbs and back into the dense urban geography of major cities. While big cities are more sustainable in lots of different ways, one thing they lack is open, fertile, affordable land on which food can be grown.
If you don’t have your own yard space, but still want to grow your own food, yard-sharing is the solution offered by the collaborative consumption movement.
Through online forums like the sites listed below, people who have land can connect with those don’t. The work and harvest is shared between multiple community members, building friendships and strengthening the local food system at the same time.
Urban Garden Share: The folks that created this website believe matching homeowners (with garden space) to gardeners (with experience) is the perfect solution for cultivating both food production and community. Although based in Seattle, the site currently has listings elsewhere in Washington State, Idaho, Kentucky, Georgia, and California.
Hyperlocavore: One of the oldest and most-respected yard sharing networks, this website facilitates the sharing of garden space, seeds, tools, know-how, potlucks and good times. Those who sign up for the free membership benefit from the collective strength of the community, as well as discounts on gardening supplies and magazines.
Landshare UK: Since its launch in 2009, this online community of growers and sharers has grown to over 60,000 members. Through its networking tools, Landshare brings together people in the UK who have a passion for home-grown food, connecting those who have land to share with those who need land for cultivating food.
Bonus! There is also a website called Landshare Colorado, which does pretty much the same thing for people in Colorado. One interesting feature of this site is the Fantastic Farm and Garden Calculator: an online farm and garden planning tool that draws upon a proprietary system of calculations to help farmers or gardeners plan diverse vegetable gardens or farms using intensive growing methods.
Shared Earth: This site was born out of its creators’ own experience finding a gardener online. They built SharedEarth.com to help facilitate more urban farming and to create a national land and gardener match-making service.
Sharing Backyards: One of the biggest barriers to growing food in the city is access to land – despite the fact that many yards, lawns, and backyards have plenty of room to spare. Sharing Backyards links people with unused yard space with those looking for a place to grow food.
Have you ever participated in yard-sharing or community food-growing? Share your experience in a comment!
Image Credit: Flickr – USFS Region 5