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October 2017 M T W T F S S « Mar 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Your YARD can be part of the sharing economy.
That’s right. The organization MyCityGardens is working to increase urban dwellers’ access to local and small-scale food production. MyCityGardens was established in 2011, and is comprised of five collaborators – ranging from web developer to community organizer.
When someone new joins the site, a post comes up “Natalie is looking for a plot,” or “Nathan is sharing a plot.” A centralized map shows where plots are shared and where they’re sought. The website user can click on each pin on the map, and see more information about the person posting and the site, like whether someone has access to water and storage.
When they launched the site, MyCityGardens’ founders expected that there would be a greater number of people that wanted to use others’ lawns than people that were willing to share them. However, the tend is the opposite. More people are interested in letting others use their lawns and back yards to grow food.
We met Lawrence Barriner III of MyCityGardens to talk with us more about their vision for the website and food security in Boston. Barriner began work with MyCityGardens as a graduate student at MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
One of the primary motivations behind forming the website was an acknowledgement of the prevalence of unproductive land in urban settings. Barriner wants to see lawns used to grow food more widely. He says:
I have a personal vendetta against grass.
Barriner is from Florida, and was previously involved with community organizing work with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. The group advocates for reform in the food industry, primarily for new labor standards towards tomato and pepper pickers.When Barriner came to MIT, he wanted to continue to address issues related to food, accessibility, social justice, and affordability.
The site has been promoted predominantly by word-of-mouth, and with notices and events around where the founders live. Barriner notices that this is one reason why there is a greater number of yards shared in Cambridge and Somerville than other parts of the city.
Elli & Lina