The Food is Free Project was started with just a handful of seeds in one front yard in Austin, Texas. It began after founder John VanDeusen Edwards read a line in a gardening book that said something to the effect that sharing the knowledge was a vital step in gardening. He resonated strongly with that line and it inspired him to take a leap of faith and start a front-yard free garden. Within one year, over half of the houses on his street had Food is Free garden beds in their front yard. John sparked a food revolution in Austin, Texas, teaching people of all walks of life how to grow and share food. It instantly became a cog for motivation for friends, neighbors and aspiring green thumbs. The project has reached over 190 cities around the globe. It has become an open sourced idea free for the taking because of the profound inspiration it has given to thousands of individuals, families, neighborhoods and communities all around the world. Their presence on social media is growing everyday, reaching more and more people around the globe. The concept behind the Food is Free Project is simple: build a raised-bed front-yard garden with reclaimed materials such as heat treated pallets. Paint a sign on the box that says Food is Free. Fill it with soil and plant it with seeds and transplants. Share the harvest with friends, neighbors, strangers and passersby. Repeat the process time and time again.
The Food is Free Project was founded by John VanDeusen Edwards (center in photo), who transformed his front and backyard into a teaching farm and resource center. The Food is Free Project is home to three aquaponic systems, twelve chickens, a rooster, two mini pet pigs, a fish pond, a hugelkultur spiral garden, an outdoor kitchen, community composting, a tool sharing program, and free workshops and classes on cooking, preserving. Food is Free Project raised beds are built onsite with the help of families, friends and volunteers. Children love coming to the farm to see the animals, witness how food is grown, and playing with worms in the compost pile. The Food is Free Project has installed several Food is Free beds throughout their community, including one for Habitat for Humanity. They encourage community involvement, the mentoring of children, engaging in conversations with neighbors and bringing life back to neighborhoods.
Recently, an unexpected hefty cash offer was made to the landlord of the property that John and the Food is Free Project Teaching Farm reside at. Those making the offer would demolish the farm, pave over it and develop condos. John and everyone at Food is Free Project is devastated and heartbroken. They have spent 2 years building the soil, planting perennials and fruit trees and inspiring the community in so many ways. They need our help. They have launched a crowd-funding campaign and are asking for community support to establish a new permanent location for the Food-Is-Free Project Open Source Teaching Farm.
Their visions for their future site include hosting international visitors and training leaders from all over the world to engage and inspire their own communities. They plan to film the progress of the evolution of The Food is Free Project which would include sharing blueprints, how to videos and gardening tutorials on their website.
Photos courtesy of Food is Free Project