Thursday, March 25, 2010

Backyard Self-Sufficiency

"FIVE TONS of blue-black earth arrives in a G and D Landscape dump truck at 10:30 a.m."

Manny Howard, "Brooklyn's Back 40," Spirit, March 2010.

Here's a guy (with family and friends) on magazine assignment to live for a month off of the veggies, fruits, and meats grown in his Brooklyn backyard, a former gully, 20' by 40.'

Seems like the best reason to do this was the weight loss -- thirty pounds over six months or so, mostly during the "eat it" phase of the experiment. Lots of tomatoes.

That a story like this would be written for Southwest's in-flight magazine is testament to the currency of urban agriculture and backyard sustainability. And he's pretty mainstream, at least in this story, two children and a high-powered executive spouse who remains skeptical to the end. This is not the stuff of Farm City antics in semi-desolate West Oakland.

Some things grew. Some did not.

So what did this backyard experiment cost? We don't have any figures, which is too bad. The capital costs could be spread over a few years, but what's the bottom line? A better experiment would have been living off backyard produce at the same level of budget expenditure or less compared to shopping at the supermarket, adjusting, oc course, for consumption differences.

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