• Fleet Farming brings free produce, lawn maintenance to Orlando


    Hundreds of Orlando homeowners are on a waiting list to have free lawn maintenance and free produce every week at their home.

    A new program where volunteers plant a garden in a front yard has become popular in the city

    Maggie Finley and her husband said they were tired of mowing their yard.

    They heard about a new program where someone does free yard work and you get to eat your vegetables too.

    "It's less yard for my husband to mow. So he was totally on board as well," said Finley.

    About 400 homeowners in Orlando are on a waiting list for the program called Fleet Farming.

    Here's how it works: Orlando allows 60 percent of a resident’s front yard and 100 percent of their back yard to be used for a garden.

    Volunteers go the home, till the dirt, plant the garden and harvest it.

    "We'll hit up each plot. We'll maintain. We'll harvest, and it's like a moving workshop,” said Michele Bumbier, of Fleet Farming. “We do all the work."

    In exchange, residents are entitled to 10 percent of the veggies every week.

    The rest is taken to local farmer's markets or sold to local restaurants.

    The profits go to pay for two full-time gardeners and to turning more yards into crops.

    "I'm almost scared that our Google email account is going to blow up, because we have so much interest coming in," said Bumbier.

    The program will soon kick off in Parramore, giving residents free produce in an area that lacks access to grocery stores.

    It's a new idea for a concept as old as humanity: Using residential land to grow something the residents can eat.

    "Just last week, I wanted a BLT, and I didn't have any lettuce. My husband was like, 'Maggie, you have a whole garden in your front yard.’ I was like, ‘Oh yeah. That's right!’" said Finley.

    In many cases, the homeowner's water bill has also gone down, because the vegetables grow with a drip irrigation system.

    Click here for more information about the program or on becoming a volunteer




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