Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Better Gardening through Cooperation

I forget where I read it, but recently I came across an article where someone was espousing how neighbors might enjoy greater success growing food by banding together and specializing. The idea is pretty straight forward - a group of neighbors agree at the start of the growing season to a list of produce they want to grow collectively, and then each household raises only the one or two types of produce on the list it believes it is best at growing. Freed from multitasking and able to concentrate only on the one or two crops it does best, each household will in theory then enjoy greater yields and better quality produce. The resulting harvest can then be swapped and distributed among the whole group, with everybody getting a little bit of everything.

I have no experience doing something like this, but it’s an idea we find interesting and thought about when we first conceived of Veggie Trader. So even though we didn't specifically develop the site for this purpose, we've just added a Plan and Specialize! section to the listings for anyone trying to find neighbors interested in specializing. If this is you, try posting a listing in this section stating the particular type of produce you can specialize in. If any of your neighbors are also interested, they can find and contact you there.

We hope to develop a better way for neighbors to come together and pledge to specialize in time for next year's growing season, but for now we hope the Plan and Specialize! listing area can at least serve as a starting place for those wanting to pursue this path.

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