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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Need Space for a Veggie Garden? Consider Taking a Sledgehammer to the Sidewalk

Posted By on Wed, May 27, 2009 at 3:40 PM

click to enlarge American idyll: A vision of sidewalk farming from PARK(ing) Day 2007 - SFPT VIA FLICKR
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  • American idyll: A vision of sidewalk farming from PARK(ing) Day 2007
Perhaps you are feeling garden envy. Perhaps you are on the waiting list for a community garden, and are feeling like the local Politburo will never grant you your allotment. Perhaps you like to smash things.

Take a look at the sidewalk in front of your apartment. If it's wider than four feet, there's a good chance that you can break up the perimeter, cart it away, and replace it with chard. Or mint. Or beans. Or a lemon tree. If you're a tenant, you can do it with a landlord's signature. (If the sidewalk is already cracking, it's going to be cheaper for said landlord to convert it back to dirt than replace the concrete.) All it takes is paperwork, the mundane glue that binds us to civil society. Urban greenscaping nonprofit Plant*SF aims to facilitate your dreams of urban-ag food security.

The frugal take note: If you band together with neighbors to form a kind of survivalist gardening cult, the permit costs go down to $160. We guarantee you this: Finding empty bottles of Night Train in your cabbage patch will never get old. If it does, we advise reading Bill McKibben's "The Cuba Diet" until indomitable plant mojo returns.

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Heather Smith

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