Preserving the Environment

Would You Believe Us If We Said That Food Can Be Free?

May 7, 2014
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Would You Believe Us If We Said That Food Can Be Free?
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
It's true. Fresh fruits and vegetables ripe for the picking, right on your very own block.

We’ve heard about local farms before — from community centers to rooftop gardens — but this farm is ultra local. Just think, the next time you need to add some herbs to your pasta, all you need to do is pop on over to your neighbor’s front yard and grab some fresh basil.

How is this possible? It’s all part of the Food is Free Project, a movement started in January 2012 in Austin, Texas by John VanDeusen Edwards and Jonathan Horstmann, who simply decided to move their backyard garden to the front and give out their harvest completely gratis. To get more of their neighbors on board, they attached a white board next to their garden bed where folks could write their details if they wanted to get involved.

Over the course of three short months, more neighbors became inspired to start their own front-yard gardens, and eventually, the entire block on Joe Sayers Avenue became one large urban farm offering free food to the community, reports the Austin-based publication Tribeza. Gradually, the movement expanded out of the city to about 20 states and countries.

“We realize that though our idea is simple, it is resonating with folks literally across the globe,” Edwards told the publication. “By using our block as a model for others, our ripple can travel farther than we can imagine.”

MORE: How a San Francisco Mom Feeds Her Family With One Teeny, Tiny Farm

If you check out their inspiring Facebook page, you’ll find an impressive online community of 54,000+ participants from around the world who share pictures of their adorable home gardens that include crops like pineapples, tomatoes, and even hydroponic onions.

Skeptics might scoff at such a kumbaya idea of completely free food and neighbors working together, but the movement really seems to be catching on. As one commenter wrote, “Two of my neighbors have stopped to tell me that seeing that I was actually growing food inspired them to plant some too. It’s contagious!”

As we’ve said before, the urban farming revolution is catching on around the country — from New York City to Detroit — giving city dwellers access to lovingly grown, local food year-round. And when getting a fresh veggies for our salads is as easy as going next door, maybe you’ll be inspired to join the revolution, too.

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