Urban Sharecropping: A New Trend

For some people going to the grocery store to buy their fruit and veggies just won’t do. They take the whole “farm-to-table” movement to a deeper level. They’re locavores. Demanding their produce be local (like grown within blocks of where they live), organic, and of course sustainable. They want a more intimate relationship with their foodstuffs and the farmers who grew and harvested it.

Mia Vaughnes & Walter Sandford

This year Mia Vaughnes and her boyfriend and business partner Walter Sandford, launched a new venture, an innovative trend of “urban” gardening. They call their company Good Neighbor Gardens and the two refer to themselves as modern-day “sharecroppers”.

“Urban sharecropping” is the hippest new way to eat local. It’s great for homeowners who lack free time or gardening skills to team up with would-be farmers. The two find each other and make arrangements that enable both sides to share resources and get fresh food.

Vaughnes and Sanford are akin to matchmakers–connecting the landless with those who have space to grow food. They’ve developed an enterprise where they plant vegetables for their Hillcrest, San Diego neighbors (in back yards or planter boxes, whatever the space will yield) and then they harvest the yield and sell and deliver it to those who want fresh produce.

Using traditional 40 x 80 size standard or custom made planter boxes, Good Neighbor Gardens, helps “landowners” decide what should be planted, equip the planter boxes with the appropriate drip lines to manage irrigation, plant using 100% chemical free soil and fertilizers, and finally reap what they sow.

The idea behind garden-sharing began in cities, among people who wanted to grow fruit and vegetables to eat but didn’t have the time, space or confidence.

Good Neighbor Gardens, say their business was born out of their personal experiences growing veggies. They say their own bounty was so plentiful, they didn’t know what to do with all they were able to successfully grow. “You don’t need a lot of land, but people still want fresh and organic veggies. We had so much and we didn’t want to throw it away. You can’t eat it all yourself,” Vaughnes says.

Essentially the food sharing concept like this: One neighbor donates his/her land for the growing. They’re called the “gracious neighbor”. The “good neighbor” then pays $35 per week for a fresh delivery of the locally grown food. “Back yard farm to a front door friend” is the phrase Vaughnes and Sanford use.

“It’s not so much about profit at this point. It’s more an issue of following an ethic. Going back to the way we used to live for the maximum benefit of everyone in the community. It saves the land and conserves water. I feel like it’s a God-given inspiration for me to do this kind of project,” Vaughnes says.

If you’re interested in finding out more about have Good Neighbor Gardens help you grow or receive fresh produce: 

phone: 619-994-6990

email: goodneighborgardens@gmail.com

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