In every backyard, a garden plot

In every backyard, a garden plot

Linked by Michael Levenston

Photo by Donald Street Farms

Entrepreneurs set out to farm unused residential yards - and make money to boot

By Moira Dann
The Globe and Mail
October 20, 2008

VICTORIA — It all started in June for Deb Heighway with a call from her brother, Craig, proving that good ideas grow roots and flourish quickly. He had declared himself CPO - “chief pitchfork operator” - of an urban farming venture in Vancouver, and he urged her to give the concept a try.

“The timing was right, as I had just finished a contract,” said Ms. Heighway, who works helping people who have suffered brain injury. “And I said: ‘Why not?’ ”

Ms. Heighway, who is originally from London, Ont., started off by purchasing a set of manuals online about small-plot intensive - or SPIN - farming: “It was $85, approximately.” The guide was part of a series produced by the pioneers behind the SPIN farming movement in Saskatchewan, Wally Satzewich and Gail Vandersteen.

“So I started knocking on doors, just on my street,” said Ms. Heighway, with flyers offering to “turn your yard into a productive vegetable garden. We’ll do all the work and you get healthy, fresh and FREE vegetables.”

And so Donald Street Farms came into being.

SPIN farming is an urban agriculture phenomenon that is growing across Canada and the United States. It offers more productive land use in the city as well as food sustainability closer to end-users.

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