Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Backyard Farming

Homeowners who want fresh cucumbers and heirloom tomatoes but don't have time to grow their own hire Lininger's company, Farmscape, to do the work for them. But don't call him a gardener: It's more like farming by the foot. And the 6-foot-4 ex-Marine, skinny as a snap bean, says he can barely keep up with demand.

There's a mini-boom in such mini farms. Scores of businesses like Farmscape are sprouting up nationwide, from My Backyard Farm in San Clemente to Your Backyard Farmer in Portland, Ore., and Freelance Farmers in New Haven, Conn.

For backyard-farmer companies, business is bountiful

There are two things I like about this story. One, you can grow food in your backyard if you really want to, though it's better to do it yourself (the cost of hiring someone to do it for you doesn't really add up) and have an extra food supply at hand. A couple of years ago I was growing green beans, tomatoes, strawberries and had a few orange and lemon trees as well. It was fun to go out to the little garden before dinner and pick some fresh produce for supper.

Two, it shows that people will pay for a skill that you've developed. It may seem crazy that somebody would pay thousands of dollars to have somebody else grow them a tiny backyard vegetable garden, but if the service is appealing enough and you have the talent (which could actually be minimal, I suppose) you can make extra income or get a small business off the ground doing something you already know how to do and maybe enjoy doing as well.

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