This post was long overdue. I first heard about sharing backyards initiatives last year while reporting on the rise of urban agriculture. Since then, these initiatives have flourished and others have been created.
Many North American city dwellers have the advantage of having a backyard adjacent to their house, and have been increasingly aware of the potential they have for food production. Gardening can be quite time-consuming though, and many of us aren’t ready to get our hands dirty. The solution: letting another garden-lover come over and take care of it all during the season, and pay him back in food or cash. The remaining produce should cover the expenses.
As usual in the post-internet world, garden owners and would-be workers can find each other online. SharedEarth offers a worldwide matching service listings and an interactive map. Most users are located in the U.S., but its fanbase is already slowly growing. Sharing Backyards, another online platform, is strongly rooted in Canada and the U.S.
Landsharing brings more to its adepts than food only. Through sharing, neighbourhood residents can reconnect and contribute to building vibrant communities. As summed up on BK Farmyards’ website:
The rituals of preparing and eating meals are the foundation of culture: it is how we celebrate the gift of life, and how trust is established in a community. BK Farmyard provides local jobs, local economic growth, and a sense of stewardship and pride in the community: it educates, organizes, and mobilizes new social relations around food.
But it’s not only about vegetables. Calgary resident Eliese Watson runs Apiaries and Bees for Communities, a business through which she tends to bee hives located in several gardens. In exchange, garden owers get their share of honey.