I came across this proposal on an Urban Farming blog I follow. The idea is deliciously simple: what if instead of paying a lawn service to trim my grass, I paid them to maintain a vegetable garden (and trim the grass)?
The proposal goes on to spell out the benefits in fairly formal terms:
In this scheme, the vast acreage of American lawns becomes an inexhaustible reservoir of arable land. Through an ongoing conversation with each individual homeowner, the farmers adapt farming techniques and planting strategies to the fragmented and platted landscapes of our cities and suburbs. Utilizing their professional expertise, specialized tools, and organic farming techniques, these farmers provide agricultural services at low cost and with maximum convenience for homeowners, bringing the industrial efficiency and higher yields of farming to the realm of home gardening.
The homeowners receive the bulk of the harvest delivered from their personal gardens onto their front doorsteps, with the farmers marketing a smaller portion of the produce to local restaurants and markets. A single garden of 800 sq. ft. can provide 400 pounds of fresh produce for each household, with an additional 240 pounds to be distributed locally amongst other consumers. Such an operation would, in farming numerous residential yards, rival the productivity and income generation of a typical CSA (community supported agriculture) farm out in the countryside.
This seems like a wonderful project for a gardening entrepreneur to take on. Using techniques like square foot gardening, a single person could maintain dozens of clients.
As a home owner, I'd get fresh produce and the sense that I was putting my lawn to more use than just eye candy.
Surely, businesses must already offer this as a service, right? If so, I'd love to hear about them.