Friday, October 4, 2013

Front Yard Farm

Portlanders tend to have a green thumb. It's evident by all the front yard farms all over town. As someone who has more of a light brown thumb, it's something I really appreciate and admire. Even now as the gray of fall rolls in, tomatoes and the occasional fruit fallen from a tree liter the sidewalk. It's clear they know what they're doing.

I'm getting ahead of myself, let me first tell you what makes a front yard farm. It's really what it sounds like. People put up planting beds in their front yards. Sometime it's not in the front yard proper. That area is still reserved for lawn, gnomes, and other front yard accessories. Instead, the planters are placed in the patch of lawn in between the sidewalk and the street. Sounds small, but you'd be amazed at how much produce one of those patches can yield. 

The front yard farm is a great idea. It's industrious, resourceful, and well, fruitful. It goes hand in hand with Portland food culture where many of the items on a restaurant menu are locally sourced. I like this practice in general.

While Portlanders are huge "grow your own food" people, what they aren't is ambitious. Perhaps that's beginning to change a bit, but all and all not so much. Unless, of course, your ambition is to have a body covered in the most amazing tattoos you've ever seen - then you've come to the right place. When it comes to any kind of art there's a supportive community around to encourage the work and help out.

I digress, my point about ambition is that you just don't see it much. Which is why it was so surprising to see a bit of ambition when it comes to front yard farms. How you might ask? People are renting out plots of their land for people to plant vegetables. To be clear it's the little patch of land between the sidewalk and the street.

There are signs planted in the grass alerting passerby's that the land is available. They kind of remind me of those "You could be home now..." signs you see on the freeway promoting a housing area. I wonder how much they get for that land? It's kind of crazy, but resourceful.

I'm all for ambition whatever form it takes and if produces healthy fruits and vegetables - all the better.