The future of community gardening

As some of my followers may have heard, I sold my main business (SocialAdr) a couple months ago.  I’ve been working on it since 2009, so the sale was definitely a bitter-sweet feeling.

I’m not one to sit idly by, watching the hours go by, so although I could have taken some time off, I was eager to get going on a new project.  This time I wanted to do something completely different though …

I’m tired of the SEO game. I’m tired of all the social media ‘noise’ that makes it hard for your brand to be heard. I’m tired of all the scams and all the bullshit. And most importantly, I want to do something that actually makes the world a better place.

Growing up on a hobby farm on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada, I was raised with an appreciation of nature. Heck, my parents were definitely what you’d call ‘hippies’ … my mom even owned a health food store, and part of every dinner was a huge salad with kale and chard.  This was in the ’80s before hipsters took that shit over 😉  My dad LOVED gardening, and had a huge garden, probably about 300 sq ft, and a greenhouse that was another 200 sq ft.  So we always had fresh veggies, fruit, and herbs.

Every year on Earth Day we’d walk down our road with garbage bags and pick up any trash.

I feel like since I’ve grown up and moved away, that part of who I was has died a bit.  I still eat super healthy (probably 90% vegan), recycle the heck out of whatever I can, and try to pay attention to my carbon footprint.  But there’s so much more I could do.

I spent a lot of time in February chatting with friends. Having an engineering background and being involved in startups and entrepreneurship for the last 7 years, I’m lucky to have a ton of friends that are crazy smart. So I picked their brains. I was looking for a “problem” in the environmental realm that I could address with technology; preferably internet technology, since that’s my expertise.

Through our various conversations, we explored everything from community supported agriculture financing to Yelp for sustainable businesses, to on-demand produce delivery, and even a solution for food waste.  Then I started looking into community gardening and SPIN Farming.  Turns out that a lot of cities, like Vancouver, have HUGE wait lists for people who want a community garden plot. That’s a problem.

Vancouver community garden

Community garden in Vancouver

Now, where can these people with green thumbs find available space for gardening, if the community gardens are all full?  And then it dawned on me … all over the place.  In every city all over the world (ok I’m sure there’s some that have shitty soil, or are in war-torn countries, or have a water shortage, but you get the point), there’s a ridiculous amount of unused land that’s ripe for gardening (pun intended).  Think about all the back yards with huge lawns (that require constant watering simply to grow grass for aesthetics) that could turn some of the unused space into a garden. What about all the homeowners who are too busy with other things in life to tend to their own gardens, but love fresh fruits and vegetables?  Seems like a no-brainer the more you think about it.

Here’s some of the many benefits of gardening:

  • Reduction of greenhouse gases from growing and consuming local produce vs. importing it from another city, state, country.
  • Plants absorb carbon dioxide and other air pollutants and release clean oxygen.
  • Plants reduce erosion and keep sediment out of streams, rivers, and lakes.
  • In some cases, gardens near your home can reduce energy costs by up to 20%, cooling your home in the summer and warming it in the winter.
  • An increase in organic gardening / farming on a mass scale will reduce the demand for non-organic commercial farming, which pollutes groundwater, and kills good insects (like bees) as well as birds and fish.
  • An increase in vegetable consumption will likely correspond with a decrease in meat and dairy consumption, which has a profound effect on reducing greenhouse gases.

So, without further ado, I’d like to introduce to you …

YardYum - Community Gardening Reinvented


A couple fun taglines I’m deciding between:

“Airbnb For Your Yard”

or maybe

“Community Gardening: Reinvented”

In a nutshell, YardYum is all about connecting homeowners who have land with their neighbors who are looking for land to grow a garden.

Whattya think? Let me know below.

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