Yardshare and Share Alike

This post was written by Going Green DC contributing writer Alison Drucker.

The rewards of yard sharing. Fresh basil!
The rewards of yard sharing. Fresh basil!

What’s a city apartment dweller with a green thumb to do? Find a neighbor willing to share some yard space.

Sharing Backyards is a national project that connects people with unused yards with others in their communities looking for a place to cultivate something. It encourages urban gardeners to make the most of limited green space, gives people a connection to the land, and expands access to fresh, local food – while uniting neighbors and beautifying urban space.

The D.C. area is full of yard-sharing success stories. One of those is the partnership between Patricia, a Rockville resident with a double lot, and Rebecca, a first-time gardener inspired by Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle to reevaluate her food sources.

Patricia posted her spare space on the D.C. Sharing Backyards Web site and swiftly – within 15 minutes – received an email connecting her to Rebecca.

eHarmony couldn’t have done a better job matching the two. Rebecca found a gardening mentor in Patricia, and each found a good friend. A few patches of squash and tomatoes later, Rebecca had a new source of produce, which she happily shared with Patricia all summer. They didn’t have a formal arrangement for sharing the veggies, though some yard-sharing duos choose to lay down specific terms for who gets what and who supplies the tools, seeds, and soil.

Interested in yard-sharing? Use this online map to find a potential partner. If you’re in search of land, try to find a place close by, since tending a garden may become part of your daily routine – when it isn’t your own yard, you can’t just wander outside in your bathrobe to pull some weeds.

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