Uncategorized tuscany farming

Published on July 1st, 2008 | by Ariel Schwartz

31

A Capitalist Dream: Company Designs and Maintains Organic Garden In Your Backyard

Tuscany Farming

Most environmentally aware Americans would love a personal organic vegetable garden, but how many people actually have the time to cultivate one?. Thanks to a San Francisco-based company called MyFarm, Bay Area denizens can pay a weekly fee to have a backyard garden designed and maintained by professionals.

Customers choose between a Personal Installation (just enough food for themselves) and an Owner Member Installation (enough food for MyFarm to sell to other members). Owner members receive a discounted membership.

The company leaves no gardening detail ignored. Each garden is tested for toxins and receives a drip irrigation system to automatically water the vegetables. MyFarm even maintains a compost pile and takes care of all pesky weeds that arise.

MyFarm founder Trevor Paque envisions a decentralized urban farm in San Francisco, made up of a network of organic urban vegetable gardens where clients in sunny areas grow tomatoes for those in foggier areas, and those in the foggy parts of town grow broccoli and other cool-weather veggies for those in warmer climes.

Paque and his crew do all work by hand and follow permaculture farming principles to ensure the long-term sustainability of each garden. Sample garden produce includes artichokes, spinach, squash, sweet peppers, carrots, and peas.

While some people may protest that a service such as MyFarm downplays the importance of individual farming and gardening skills, I believe that this is an important step in creating a local food economy. After all, in today’s era of high food and gas prices, shouldn’t we welcome a service that wants to provide high-quality produce close to home?






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About the Author

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.



  • http://redgreenandblue.org Tim

    I’ve seen this in a few other cities, too (Portland and Boulder come to mind) What a fantastic idea.

  • http://sunnybeachrealestate.net sunny beach

    growing your own food to the degree possible is one step towards saving fuel costs to transport.

  • http://fark.my/ oOFooi

    Great idea. We can save a lot, not just the $$$ but also the environment.

  • Dody

    So does “MyFarm” do ten acres in Arkansas? If so how much, especially if I let them sell the produce.

  • Ariel Schwartz

    Dody – Unfortunately they aren’t in Arkansas yet, but hopefully if the service really takes off it will be replicated in other parts of the country. As Tim’s comment mentions, other cities (Boulder, Portland) are already doing similar things.

  • John Thomas

    Organic Gardens are so cool. Real hip and the chicks love it.

    JT
    http://www.Ultimate-Anonymity.com

  • jake

    Growing your own food is not that hard. why pay a fee to have someone do it for you? I’ve been growing food for upwards of twenty years.

  • http://www.spinfarming.com Roxanne Christensen

    There is another angle to this story, and it is commercial backyard farming. As the co-author of SPIN-Farming, what I see every day are more and more entrepreneurs throughout the U.S. and Canada using SPIN’s franchise-ready system as an entry point into the farming profession. These first generation farmers are using front lawns and backyards and neighborhood lots as their land base. Developed by Canadian farmer Wally Satzewich, SPIN makes it possible to earn significant income from growing vegetables on land bases under an acre in size. SPIN farmers utilize relay cropping to increase yield and achieve good economic returns by growing only the most profitable food crops tailored to local markets. SPIN’s growing techniques are not, in themselves, breakthrough. What is novel is the way a SPIN farm business is run. SPIN provides everything you’d expect from a good franchise: a business plan, marketing advice, and a detailed day-to-day workflow. In standardizing the system and creating a reproducible process it really isn’t any different from McDonalds. By offering a non-technical, easy-to-understand and inexpensive-to-implement farming system, it allows many more people to farm, wherever they live, as long as there are nearby markets to support them, and it removes the two big barriers to entry – sizeable acreage and significant start-up capital. You can see SPIN farmers in action at http://www.spinfarming.com

  • Kevin

    I’m looking to buy a house in Pittsburg, CA with a priority on getting land so I can grow fruit and veg (would also like to have some chickens).

    This idea has really peeked my interest since I don’t know any more than the average joe about growing stuff. Anyone know when/if this program will expand to include Pittsburg, ca ?

  • http://gogreentravelgreen.com Elizabeth

    This is fascinating. It’s kind of like the small wifi networks that are being built in cities that operate because individuals are sharing across networks.

  • http://www.PrimeExistance.com Nipahc

    Sounds like a good idea to me. I wish it was out in Kansas City. Food is an issue that is coming up next and were not using our space. Sometimes its just hard to get out and keep your garden up. I’ve been doing it for 20 years too, but sometimes get a bit back and I am not doing all the irrigation and testing. Sounds a good way to have reliable healthy food.

  • http://organic.meetup.com/100 Alexis

    This is fabulous and exactly what I am looking for. We are moving to Austin, TX in 6 months. I hope to find a service exactly like this there. If I can’t, I may encourage someone to start one.

  • http://gardensong.net Garden Grrrl

    Interesting idea. It must be a fairly expensive service, or the labor costs just wouldn’t work out. It’s true that permaculture techniques might lower the amount of labor involved, but there’s quite a bit of time and effort that would just go into visiting different houses every week.

  • http://www.mesaverdebaja.com Robert Stec

    Great concept & article. I think this is going to be a trend in the future. In fact our team is creating a sustainable community in the eco tourism hot spot of La Paz in Baja California Sur, Mexico and organic gardens are going to be a focal point of the development.

    http://www.mesaverdebaja.com

  • dedsetmad

    What a great i d a. Shame I live in Australia or I would likely be a candidate!

  • http://www.yourbackyardfarmer.com Donna Smith

    This is a growing movement! Your backyard farmer has pioneered this model of backyard farming and has been bringing small farms and building community in neighborhoods since 2006 in Portland Oregon. They are now in there third season. Your backyard farmer model is now being used thru out the country and Europe. There program has expanded and is offering Full service small farms, a consultation programs for Do it yourself people and those who would like to start a backyard farming venture in there home towns. Your Backyard farmer uses healthy, local and sustainable practices they just won the BEST award in 2008 for sustainable food systems in Portland OR.

    Building community one farm at a time!

  • Stefanie

    I found this post through google… (No Impact Man was talking about this type of business in NYC and…) I was looking for a similar business in Los Angeles (SFV).

    Any recommendations?

    Also, Jake might think growing food isn’t that hard, and it probably isn’t but I spend 48 hours a week at work and then another 15-20 at school. I’m lucky if I can make it to Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. If the price is reasonable, why shouldn’t I have the option of paying someone to “farm” my apartment balcony. I’m already paying people in Iowa to grow corn I don’t eat. ($28/acre government subsidy)

  • Ariel Schwartz

    Hi Stefanie – Unfortunately, I don’t know of any similar services in LA. I have a feeling that some might spring up in the near future since backyard farming services are becoming popular in other cities. Good luck!

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  • http://loveneverything.proboards.com Lisa843

    I LOVE this idea. I wish we had something like this in my town.

  • http://hyperlocavore.com Liz M owner hyperlocavore

    Another strategy for eating and growing your own is to form a yard share group with friends, family or neighbors. Hyperlocavore.com is a free yard sharing community here to help you start and maintain a yard sharing group.

    We also support suburban farmers like the good folks at MyFarm – So if you are a fledgling urban/suburban farmer – sign up! It’s free, and perhaps we can help you develop a steady client base and series of yards.

    Happy digging!
    LizM

  • Uncle B

    If every American converted his 18th century “British fetish” lawn into a potato crop each year, and in the fall, made Vodka with them, we would have enough fuel for our SUV’s and enough left over to get so drunk we wouldn’t care about fuel shortages any way! This is the ultimate oil crisis solution, a win-win to be sure , and more fun than anything else! See net for making Vodka, hide from the “revenuers” they won’t like this, petition governments for a “break” for domestic “fuel” producers from this archaic law, and get plastered! I like it!

  • http://gardentoeathealthy.com/ WileyR

    While I applaud the industrious creators of this enterprise, and the Organic techniques which they employ, sadly it seems to me another symptom of how we avoid taking the responsibility of something as basic as growing our food and turn it over to others.
    Organic processes are the best way to ensure the most nutritious, toxin free (or at least relatively so) produce and are reasonably simple to maintain.
    One of the downsides would be the amount of energy consumed and pollutants produced in simply transporting workers and equipment from place to place, instead of the owners/residents walking out their doors to enjoy some “downtime” and exercise in their own yards.
    Again I do applaud the Organic component involved and hope for only the best in this enterprise, and for those who use this service, I do applaud the effort to bring only the purest food to your family’s table.

  • http://www.backyardgardeningtips.com/ Backyard Gardening Tips

    My wife and I finally purchased a property big enough to move our little garden out of containers and into the ground. It was hard work but well worth it for the experience.

    Next year it would be nice to take our second property, the one right next door to the property we live on, and turn it into a garden. We could grow enough to supply ourselves with produce for the entire year. Now that would be cool.

  • http://link Crazy35

    Of course this same point is generally put forward by the Deniers as a pretext for dismissing the scientific consensus. ,

  • YSAELLE LINDSEY

    I would like to start a backyard vegetable garden in my house @San Jose Avenue corner Kingston. Can you help me get started ?

    Thanks.

  • http://www.solartronenergy.com/ Solar tronenergy

    Great idea, glad I took the time to wait for it to load. Shame this can’t really happen in the UK, as modern houses don’t have such luxuries as a Garden.

  • http://www.abesmarket.com/ Lynn Williams

    I had no idea such a great service existed. One valuable thing it will likely do is point people who have aspirations to have organic gardens in the right direction. I believe many people are just too busy or intimidated to get started. However, once the experts have installed their garden, they will be inspired to maintain it year after year.

  • http://greenglobaltravel.com Zana@GreenGlobalTravel

    Wow this is such a great concept. I know several people who would enjoy this service (myself included)….like a babysitting service for your garden in some ways!

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