As the effects of climate change continue to appear, the need for new innovative solutions intensifies. An article in Grace Communications Foundation explains that our agricultural system has become one of the key factors in this environmental crisis. Within that system it is estimated that 33% of global climate change is a result of our energy dependent food delivery methods.
It’s no secret that most of the produce lining our grocery stores has been flown in from halfway across the world. Clearly this inefficient system is harmful and lacks common sense. One program in Florida is proving that there is a better more sustainable model to follow.
Fleet Farming was created by John Rife, the co-founded Orlando’s East Market which is a cultural food hub connecting the farmers and food artisans. His vision of a pedal-powered farming system was presented to a think tank that focuses on sustainable living. Soon, what had begun as a somewhat lofty dream was being launched as a pilot program.
With humble beginnings (15 volunteer farmers and a borrowed bike trailer gardening in five home yards) Fleet Farming has continued to grow. As an incentive, homeowners that offered their yards up for use, were given a portion of the harvest which includes 25 varieties of vegetables grown in small sections called “farmlettes.” The gardening is done by a rotation of volunteers from high schools, colleges and via social media invites. The harvest is then transported via bicycle to be sold at local farmers markets.
Castro explains their sustainable plan in Civil Eats stating,
Our overall goal is to farm farmers. We encourage them to take their garden and run it after one year, because it opens up a space for a new homeowner,” Castro said. “Either way, we’re still helping the food system by creating new urban gardeners and the resources are being diverted to growing food, rather than keeping lawns green.”
While the program is still in the beginning stages, by narrowing their focus to salad greens this summer, they have the potential of turning a profit, proving that this is more than just an idealistic pipe dream. Luckily, Orlando’s laws don’t prohibit urban gardening. With so many acres of potential yard gardens, the Fleet Farming program proves that this type of innovative thinking may be the key to curbing our carbon footprint and improving our environment.
PHOTO: via flickr
Taking a Bite Out of Climate Change via Grace Communications Foundation
Pedal-Powered Produce: Growing & Delivering Local Food in Florida via CivilEats.org
Read all articles by Juniper Briggs