5 To Eat Healthfully
What: An urban twist on a traditional tenant farm
Where: Brentwood-Darlington (Southeast Portland)
Who: Susan Webb and Henry Grimmett
WEBB AND GRIMMETT have put a fair share of sweat into their steeply sloping front yard, building terraced retaining walls and adding artful touches with materials recycled from their art-glass manufacturing company, Glass Alchemy. But this busy couple has limited time for grocery shopping, let alone growing their own food. So they passed the trowels to Donna Smith and Robyn Streeter of Your Backyard Farmer.
The Deal: Your Backyard Farmer does everything from hauling compost to sowing seeds, watering, weeding, harvesting, and putting the garden to bed for winter. In exchange for a fee of about $1,500 per year, Webb and Grimmett get to keep the harvest.
Net Benefit: Though the couple has relinquished the dirty work of vegetable gardening, they retain complete control over what gets grown, including lots of pepper varieties and red Aztec spinach (an obscure Mexican green). “Instead of being tempted by fast food,” Webb says, “I can drive home, step out of my car, and pick an armload of vegetables on my way to the front door.”
Neighboring Effects: Excess harvest goes to neighbors, who often return the favor. “One neighbor is getting chickens,” Webb says. “So next year, maybe I won’t even have to shop for eggs.”