The following post was originally posted here over two years ago by Robert Puro at Seedstock. Everybody requires the same basic human needs like water, food and shelter. Even if you’ve got the resources to have an abundance of them like most in America, we still waste an enormous amount of those resources. Water is wasted commercially on flood methods of farming; water is wasted at home watering lawns people hardly spend any time on. We throw away 1/3 of our food every day as a society — yet 1 in 7 people go hungry every single day. These problems are solvable, and society is ready to take it on, and we’ll do it the best way we know how: through gardening.
The traditional forms of farming all favor profit growth above all other concerns; exploiting workers in the name of cheap produce. A new model for producing healthy food to support a thriving economy is needed — a model where agriculture is reintegrated into urban and suburban areas — and locally produced food is sold and consumed locally, grown by its own residents. The home food garden movement has grown 67% since 2004, and it’s only becoming more popular.
Gardening creates sustainability — To put it simply, sustainability means that you can do it yourself, and you don’t have to buy it; you don’t have to go to the store for absolutely everything you need. We don’t think this way as often these days, even though Americans have historically proven to be great at growing food for sustainability. Americans have an oversimplified way of thinking about the food they’re buying in the grocery store. The disconnect between how food is consumed, and how it’s produced is a problem, since less than 2 percent of Americans work in agriculture.
There’s great news: Consumer demand for locally grown produce is at an all-time high, which is creating a new wave of urban farmers and gardeners eager to start a small to medium-sized agri-space or garden on their property. Unfortunately — Less than 3 percent of locally grown produce is distributed locally.
Under the 2014 Farm Bill, USDA has earmarked $78 million to improve the distribution system and networks for local and home-grown produce. State and local governments must now match this historic investment. Some say let capitalism take its course when it comes to the urban farm-to-table efforts. Five years ago, consumers significantly shifted their focus to locally grown produce and sustainable farming — but primarily to serve the interests of individuals who wanted guaranteed sources and direct delivery. Local food sales hit more than $7 billion by 2011, according to the USDA. Even as consumer demand for locally grown produce continues to climb, the smaller urban farmer who toils near urban areas still has few options to bring their excess product to the consumer; the only option is to set up a booth at a farmer’s market, or have some distribution/sharing/trading software like Yarden.
In just the past year, entrepreneurs in a handful of urban areas have created localized distribution systems. Retailers like Whole Foods Market are helping get local produce into stores and are heavily marketing this attribute. However, most of these systems still only serve a few individual growers and producers. Yarden helps to stimulate the new age of urban farming and promote the connection of shipping and delivery systems.
I often think about the food chain, where my food comes from, and who was involved. If you take the time to think about it, the current food system can be unsettling to you if you care about human rights, food quality and the environment. Yarden and our amazing team will connect with current distribution networks to help with order fulfillment and logistics to help manage lower volumes from multiple sources, be able to handle a greater variety of produce and be flexible to more production variables than our current food distribution systems; one key to improving the urban farm system is aggregation.
Growers selling into local markets generate 13 full-time operator jobs per $1 million in sales as compared to 3 full-time jobs generated by outside commercial farms, according to the USDA. The law of supply and demand suggests that if a restaurant or grocery chain could have more guarantees of fresh, locally grown produce, they would place more orders, and this is where we will have a direct impact by increasing the supply to meet the demand.
With capitalism and consumerism hanging in the balance of life in America, how can a company help society at large serve consumers investors AND local communities? After much critical thinking the answer became clear: we have to make a platform where people can grow food, learn about health, pass it on to their friends and family and become sustainable communities. Given the job creation potential, the commitment to improving local health, promoting sustainable industries, and the potential to significantly advance the growth of urban farming, join Yarden in the new era of urban farming. The federal government has taken the first step, now it’s up to us to kick-start this industry with job-training, software, data and tracking to truly bolster urban farming and improve food security.
For more information about what we’re doing to turn Yards into Gardens, click our link: