Guy makes good money farming in other people's yards


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/04/30/guy-makes-good-money-farming-i.html


#2

“The frontyard garden is the new backyard garden.”

Sure, as long as you can keep squirrels (and squirrelly people) from stealing the fruits and veggies of your labor.

And: So even farming is now a niche in the gig economy?! I want to resist seeing what this guy is doing as an entirely good thing.


#3

Our cats do a respectable job of scaring off squirrels. Ours is in the backyard, but it isn’t fenced and nothing really prevents someone from stealing the produce. Despite that, we’ve not had any problems with that. There’s always the risk of people taking stuff, but that’s been true of gardens and patio furniture forever. Granted I wouldn’t leave a laptop or the like unattended on a front porch for a long time, but for better or worse, most people don’t think of produce as valuables. And honestly, if someone asked, either one of us would just give a tomato or brussel sprout to someone.

It’s not like he or his clients are being exploited by a company like Uber. I wouldn’t call this gig economy. He’s not doing it as a side job. It’s his full-time business. He just happens to be self-employed. I’m open-minded to the possibility, but not really seeing an ethical problem.


#4

Like much of what has been absorbed into the ‘gig economy’, this seems like the sort of thing that is anywhere from harmless to actively beneficial for all involved until it gets gig-economy-ized. Thanks to being an early(perhaps literally ‘first’) mover in an uncrowded market; he appears to be doing quite well by agricultural labor standards; and presumably didn’t carve out this niche because he really, really, hates growing stuff.

The ‘gig economy’ version won’t really be here until we can kick the filthy labor peon from his position of relative stability; and ensure that the surplus value currently accruing to him can be diverted to worthier ends. I’m not sure what the optimally-exploitative rearrangement would involve; but the fine labor relations of traditional agriculture or the cool ‘outsource the risks’ vertical integration model in poultry production certainly offer some ideas.


#5

There’s an app for that.


#6

Doesn’t sound like great money to me once you figure how many months he’s actually harvesting and selling. June-October at best, I figure. But I suppose the value of $25K depends upon your other options, and how much time you’re actually putting in.

I have a pretty active organic garden, but every time a crop fails I thank God it’s not my living.


#7

Meanwhile…


#8

Clearly a noble effort to provide the amenities of a real HOA to residents of the projects.


#9

I can see a resident board claiming “color and life” doesn’t match the architectural intent.


#10

I’m all for this. Anything that means I don’t have to mow my lawn is a good thing.


#11

Roasting some beets / turnips / squash / rutabagas right now, delish!


#12

“We’ll be right over.”


#13

From the article you linked…

Carolyn Crossley, a director of the Quincy Housing Authority, declined to say why they’re banning the outdoor decorations and referred all questions to executive director James Lydon, who did not return calls.

Commissioners of the housing authority also didn’t return requests for comment.

A big part of the problem is that these bureaucrats can hide behind their lack of accountability and simply refuse to answer to the outraged public.


#14

Would have been nice to actually have some TEXT explaining how his business model works instead of a chain of badly made, redundant videos that explain very little.


#15

Front yard gardens? Must not be part of a HOA. I know someone who grew some corn to try to hide one of those green electric or phone boxes and the HOW had a hissy.

Waaaay back in the day, we not only had a huge garden, but borrowed part of the neighbors back yard and grew a lot of corn on it, giving her some of it in return.


#16

My mom’s got a huge piece of land surrounding her home due to living on a corner lot. She hates having to have it mowed - but she’s in Kansas, a little bit off this guy’s migratory path.


#17

Margo would NEVER have lent her front garden to her neighbour Tom!


#18

This farmer challenges my cultural assumptions. Therefore I’m skeptical.


#19

I have to say, the wood chips really do make it far more pleasant looking. If he added a rows of flowers between the crops (say, ones that attracted beneficial insects), it would be downright pretty.


#20

There are a bunch of people doing this or that have done this and they are making good money working plots that combined equal less then or around an acre. Look up Curtis Stone. He’s made a living and employed people on leased and borrow urban yards. Curtis farms a couple neighbors yards around his house and sells produce to restaurants, farms markets, grocery stores and CSAs. Using season extension tactics he can farm most of the year and make enough to not work in the winter.