You Can Grow Free Food and a Community in Your Own Front Yard

The gardens are built and offered for free using salvaged resources that would otherwise be headed to the landfill.

Oct 21, 2018
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John Edwards created his own front-yard garden, and he experienced a great sense of community as he met people walking by. His garden gave him the opportunity to connect with people who he otherwise would never have met. This experience sparked the idea for the Food is Free project.

Launched in January 2012, the Food is Free movement is an organization which connects people to the food that they eat, and to the people of the community. What began as just one pilot gard, only three months later, front yard garden sprang up at almost all of the houses on the street. With these community gardens, people gain a sense of independence from the classic agricultural system by growing their own food.

The gardens are built for free from discarded materials. In order to make the project more accessible to people, John has implemented wicking bed gardens, which are essentially “self-watering” gardens. The idea is that the garden has a water reservoir at the bottom, which means that it only needs to be watered every two to four weeks.

This makes gardening much easier for those apprehensive about maintenance. In several Food is Free communities, they have established tool-sharing, as well as community potlucks, composting gardens, and other communal events.

Walking along a street of vegetable gardens promotes interaction among neighbors. “It just doesn’t make sense for us to be driving tomatoes 1,200 miles to get to our dinner plate when it can come from next door,” says Food is Free Founder John Edwards.

“The idea is to grow community and to grow food, and to open doors to more possibilities of how we can build a life that is supported and supports those around us. We are growing food in our front yards while growing community at the same time.”

Do you want to start your own Food is Free project in your community? Find out more about how to join the movement.

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RISI ADLER FINKEL, CONTRIBUTOR
Risi has a passion for reading, traveling, and food. When she isn't writing about those things, she is experiencing them with her husband and son. One of the reasons she loves to travel is to learn about all the good in the world, and share these stories with others.

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