Monday, March 23, 2009

Home Farming In Guelph... and Washington!

A couple of friends of mine went to an open house over the weekend for an organization called Backyard Bounty, a group which turns people's backyards into 'micro-farms'.

The deal is this: you give their crew access to your backyard, front yard, side yard, wherever. They dig it up, they plant the vegetables, they do all the weeding, watering, etc. You sit back and watch it grow, and as the vegetables become ready for harvest, you get free food. But since you can only eat so much, the remainder is sold to local restaurants and markets.

Unfortunately they only operate in Guelph for now, but if the program becomes more popular, who knows?

And in a curious case of serendipity, I found this item in The Star this weekend:

Garden scores green thumbs up
Grow-your-own-food movement hopes patch of vegetables, herbs at White House to inspire others

WASHINGTON – Twenty-six elementary schoolchildren wielded shovels, rakes, pitchforks and wheelbarrows to help first lady Michelle Obama break ground on the first day of spring for a produce and herb garden on the White House grounds.

Crops to be planted in the coming weeks on the 102-square-metre, L-shaped patch near the fountain on the South Lawn include spinach, broccoli, various lettuces, kale and collard greens, and assorted herbs and berries. There will also be a beehive.

"We're going to try to make our own honey here as well," Obama told the Grade 5 students from Bancroft Elementary School yesterday. The youngsters will be return to the White House next month to help with the planting, and in late April to help harvest and cook some of the produce in the mansion's kitchen.

Obama said her family has talked about planting such a garden since they moved to the White House in January.

My only quibble: Obama's outfit wasn't exactly appropriate to the task at hand. Maybe I'll send her a Lee Valley Tools catalogue so she can get a sweatshirt, hat, knee pads, and a pair of decent gloves.

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