You know that saying, ‘Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime?’ This sentiment is pretty fitting for a new service available in the local food and gardening movement.
Farmyard, a Phoenix-based company, has a unique business model that not only provides fresh, organic produce through a community supported agriculture (CSA) program, but also visits the yards of those interested in growing their own food, helps install gardens and follows up to ensure clients are properly tending to their crops.
At its core, learning to garden requires that people alter the way they think, both about what they eat and how they interact with the world around them.
“We’re so used to having that grocery store mentality, having everything all the time no matter what,” Rebecca Kidwell, co-owner of Farmyard, told Earth911. “We need to learn to eat with the seasons, which is kind of a tough thing for our society.”
Growing their own food helps people learn where food comes from, as well as how that food relates to the local landscape, Kidwell said. New gardeners have to learn about climate, weather, temperature, soil and plenty of other things to successfully grow produce.
“I try and connect people back,” Kidwell said. “It’s like bringing people back in touch with nature and how important seasons used to be. It’s looking at the weather and being in touch with the sky and clouds.”
How the Business Started
It’s not everyday someone will not only install a garden for you, but also set up a maintenance plan to help you care for it.
Rebecca Kidwell and her sister Sarah, Farmyard’s other co-owner, came up with the idea for the business when they expanded Rebecca’s backyard garden into the home’s front yard. They had an overabundance of produce, which led to the creation of their CSA, and at the same time people started taking notice of the garden beds out in front of the house.
“The neighbors were interested in what we were up to. They asked, ‘Can you do this in my yard?’ So as we did this for ourselves, out came ‘I would like your food’ and ‘I would like this in my backyard,'” Kidwell explained.
The company, now in its fourth year, has many clients who live nearby in Phoenix, but after receiving some local press, word about Farmyard’s garden installations spread throughout the city and even the state. The business grew about 85 percent last year, according to Kidwell.
“We have clients up in Sedona and we were just in Anthem this week at a couple clients’ yards, so as people drive by it’s spreading from here out,” Kidwell said.
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