This week’s theme: Food Projects!
Dear Food is Free,
There is a saying that I’ve never liked much: “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”
The sentiment behind this catch-all saying makes the concept of free sound like something to be wary of. To not trust anything that claims to be free because whoever is “giving” it out will expect something back. That altruism is a myth or at best an antiquated ideal. So a project like Food is Free seems too good to be true at first glance. What’s the catch, right?
Healthy and essentially free food should not be such a novel concept. It is a human right to have access to healthy food, not a privilege. We as a society have completely detached ourselves from where our food comes from. So as you say, why can’t it come from next door?
I live in a neighborhood surrounded by fast-food options. Your choices for a meal within walking distance range from the gas station to Burger King. I also live next door to a boarded up house with an overgrown back and front yard. I’ve thought a lot about turning it into some sort of garden but dirt is really expensive. That’s what IndieGoGo is for I guess. Ballpark estimate, how much does it take to turn a decent sized front yard into a garden?
We need projects like Food is Free here in Dallas. Maybe if I get this off this project off the ground it will be the start of a Dallas chapter.
PS: John, you’re a boss:
Love it Hayden!
We’d love to offer any advice we can but the first steps would be to see what you can get for free. Call some local tree trimmers and ask them to dump a load of mulch in the front yard of the abandoned house next time they’re in the neighborhood. Mention its for a community garden but usually they are looking for places to dump it. You can also call some local farms or nurseries and ask if they have any spare seedlings they can’t sell or plant and would like to donate them. Feel free to use the name Food is Free, its open source. If you mulch the whole front yard it will help keep the weeds down. First put down a good layer of cardboard across the grass to hold it back. You can get free cardboard boxes from many stores. Also consider starting to compost to generate soil and you could even set up a community compost pile on the overgrown lot so neighbors can compost together and put that free soil to use.
Check out our videos on wicking bed gardens. It may be a good first step. Also watch some YouTube videos on hugelkulture gardens, they’re super drought tolerant. Consider hosting a potluck or cookout for neighbors and you may well have some others to help and they may have tools or ready compost to offer up.
Stay in touch and go for it!
PS: Okra is a great summer crop and gets really tall and impressive. You can plant it through July.