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June 24, 2008

CSA + Your Garden = MyFarm


A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Trevor Paque. (Pictured above with one of his employees.)

Trevor has a very unique vision of transforming private urban yards into abundant gardens that supply a decentralized CSA model. CSA = Community Supported Agriculture program where members receive a vegetable box directly from a farm.

Paque follows organic as well as permaculture farming methods. Permaculture is an agro-ecological design theory which allows man-made ecosystems (farms) to have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. In other words, watch and learn how nature makes food, and design a system to replicate that. It's about working with, rather than against nature. 

Trevorbeds Trevor's MyFarm venture is a for-profit firm that aims to conserve energy by growing produce where people eat it, and to beautify and make use of underutilized land. Here's how it works. MyFarm designs and installs a garden which consists of raised 4'x4' foot beds. Design includes site analysis where Trevor evaluates sunlight and tests the soil for contaminants and nutrient levels. He even installs drip irrigation. Once the garden is planted, Trevor and crew do everything to maintain it: weed, harvest and compost.

The cost to design and install is $600 to $1,000 and maintenance costs $20 to $35 per week depending on size. Those who sign up for larger gardens pay a smaller weekly fee and provide food to MyFarm CSA customers who will receive a weekly vegetable box collected from MyFarm backyards. So in theory, if you live in the Avenues where tomatoes can't be grown, your fellow MyFarm members in the Mission can supply you with the elusive red orbs.

Two other cool things.

  • Instead of having your compost trucked by the city to be processed in Vacaville and then hauled to organic farms around the northern parts of the state wasting fossil fuel, MyFarm sets up a compost heap in your backyard. They use your own scraps to enrich your garden. Interesting fact: In SF, 350 tons of the stuff in the green bins is transported to Vacaville every day.
  • Instead of using tractors, Trevor and crew do their work by hand and travel by bicycle as much as possible. Even for deliveries. 

While visiting Trevor at one of his installations here in Cole Valley, I tasted some of the broccoli he grows. In its raw state, the broccoli was succulent and tender.  I could have eaten a whole bowl of it.

So far, Trevor has installed 10 gardens with several other families signed up. By the way, if you don't have a garden installed by him, you can still subscribe to the CSA and get a box every week for $35.

I hope that you SF readers will consider becoming a member or subscriber of MyFarm. It's a terrific concept with an admirable goal of reducing our reliance on food/compost being trucked in/out over distance.

MyFarm website

SF Chronicle article on MyFarm (mentions similar decentralized urban farms in other parts of the country and gives more details about Trevor's background.)


Anyone know of a program like myfarm in Westchester County, NY? would love to hear about it: paul[at]lightfoot.com

What a brilliant idea!!

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