For those who want to do more than just convert their own lawn, who feel driven to tear up every inch of grass in their community, this is for you. Maybe you’ve already started farming your lawn, rooftop, or patio, or maybe you haven’t sown a single seed. Wherever you are in your farming journey, it’s never too late to start.
First, take a minute to ponder the questions below…
Now, here are a few more things to consider:
- Is there already a chapter in my area? See our active branch map for a list of locations. Because it is bike-powered, Fleet is best at a hyperlocal level, so if there is already a branch in your city, that doesn’t mean you can’t start one too! If there is already a group in your neighborhood, meet your coordinator here and contact them to find out how to help:
- How much time does it take to organize? It takes about 20 hours per week to get the program going. However, you can share this time between a team of people, which we highly suggest. Everything, especially gardening, is more fun with friends. However, we suggest one person take the lead and commit to the program for at least 3 years. Be sure that this person has garden experience and a true passion for plants ; ) Worried you don’t have the time? Your branch can take the Fleet Fruits approach without installing farmlettes and simply host Swarm Rides to glean pre-planted fruit trees.
- Does your city allow front yard gardens? Don’t let any ‘ol policy get you down! Often times the code is silent on this issue, so it’s important to make sure that there are measures in place to protect you and your program before you start tearing up lawns. See the City of Orlando’s recently revised landscape code for inspiration!
- How much land does it take to start? Before you start digging, be sure that you know of at least 5-10 lawns or 5,000 sq.ft. that could serve as potential farmlettes. As you start the program, you’ll be surprised at how many landowners begin begging you to take their grass away, but you need to have some place to start first!
- How much money do I need to start? The first year requires anywhere from $2-7k in startup funding depending on your scale and goals. Your biggest investment is the rototiller (if you choose to use one). Bike trailer, processing equipment and cold storage space (whether buying or renting) are runner-ups. However, you can always partner with a restaurant and trade produce for time and storage in their kitchen.
- How much will I make? Using the SPIN model you can expect to begin making $3-18k in gross revenue from 1-5,000 sq. ft. So, we don’t encourage quitting your job in the first few years, but rather working on Fleet in your free time. We include a funding guide in our toolkit for smart ways to source startup funding and pay yourself.
- Do you have a home base? You will need a shed for tools, wheelbarrows, bike, trailer, and it makes most sense if this located near your processing and storage area.
- Do you have access to a truck to move compost? You don’t need to own a truck, but you will definitely need one here and there to deliver compost to your farmlettes. You can trade for a car wash and salad if you have any friends with one, or you can rent one from your local hardware store or from apps like “Dude I need a truck“!
Now that you have a better idea of what it takes, we suggest you start working down this list, get your ducks in a row, get a toolkit, and get growing!