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The Green Life: Healthful Harvest. Bountiful Business?

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April 09, 2009

Healthful Harvest. Bountiful Business?

GardeningA new business model is taking root in our backyards and it tastes delicious. Just ask Donna Smith and Robyn Streeter, founders of Your Backyard Farmer in Portland, Oregon. Welcome these women into your backyard and they'll create a small, custom-built organic farm that satisfies your household's gastronomic needs and desires, maintain your beds, and deliver a basket of fresh produce to your doorstep each week.

This unique CSA model puts city dwellers' neglected backyards to good use, making farming a viable occupation for urban residents. It also has the potential to increase local food security. And yet if we're committed to establishing a truly sustainable food system, then we'll have to ask: Whose backyard farmer are we really talking about?

In many urban areas, lack of access to nutritious food poses a serious threat to the health of community members who can't afford to hire someone to grow fresh produce just outside their doorstep. That's where organizations like City Slicker Farms step in. Based in Oakland, California, the nonprofit works to increase food access for those that need it most, helps low-income residents create sustainable, high-yield backyard gardens, and provides support to empower new farmers learning how to grow their own food for the first time.

--Melissa Weiss

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