Front Yard Farming

<p>A few eco-conscious -- and business savvy -- suburbanites are ripping up their lawns and growing vegetables to cater to the increasing demand for local produce.</p>
April 22, 2008, 2pm PDT | Christian Madera | @cpmadera
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"When suburbanites look out their front doors, a lot of them want to see a lush green lawn. Kipp Nash wants to see vegetables, and not all of his neighbors are thrilled.

"I'd rather see green grass" than brown dirt patches, says 82-year-old Florence Tatum, who lives in Mr. Nash's Boulder neighborhood, across the street from a house with a freshly dug manure patch out front. "But those days are slipping away."

Since 2006, Mr. Nash, 31, has uprooted his backyard and the front or back yards of eight of his Boulder neighbors, turning them into minifarms growing tomatoes, bok choy, garlic and beets. Between May and September, he gives weekly bagfuls of fresh-picked vegetables and herbs to people here who have bought "shares" of his farming operation. Neighbors who lend their yards to the effort are paid in free produce and yard work.

A school-bus driver, Mr. Nash rises at 5 a.m. and, after returning from his morning route, spends his days planting, watering and tending his yard farms and the seedlings he stores in a greenhouse behind his house.

Farmers don't necessarily live in the country anymore. They might just be your next-door neighbor, hoping to turn a dollar satisfying the blooming demand for organic, locally grown foods."

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Published on Tuesday, April 22, 2008 in The Wall Street Journal
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