When Texan John Edwards was given a seed packet, he thought he would grow a few veggies. But within a few years, he had grown a local food movement – worldwide. It all started because Edwards chose to plant his garden in his front yard rather than the back.

EDWARDS: “Just because I was out there in the front yard working the garden, it offered an opportunity to start a conversation and connect.”

Food Is Free farm entrance
Mural, Community Bulletin board, and Food is Free wicking beds invite folks into the farm (source: FoodIsFreeProject).

Soon, many of Edwards’ neighbors were cultivating their own front yard gardens, and they all shared ideas as well as their harvests.

For example, Edwards shared his design for a wicking self-watering system made from reclaimed materials such as wooden pallets.

As his community approach to gardening grew, Edwards started a nonprofit called “Food is Free” to share ideas and best practices. With this “open-source” philosophy, and the aid of the internet, front yard farms and innovative variations on the theme quickly sprouted around the world.

The effort has grown beyond front yards to include large community gardens with schools, churches and others.

”Front-yard Click To Tweet

This super-local agriculture can help reduce global warming. So by growing our own food in front yard farms, we can support healthier people, communities, and the planet.

Reporting credit: Evan Lowenstein/ChavoBart Digital Media.

More Resources
The Story of Food Is Free (video)
Food Is Free Project website

Avatar photo

Jan O'Brien

Jan O'Brien was assistant editor and website manager at Yale Climate Connections from 2007-2022. She brought more than three decades of experience in environmental publishing and policy research and more...