Fleet Farming is a non-profit urban agriculture program of IDEAS For Us that transforms the average American lawn into a bio-verse, productive micro farms and edible gardens.
Our mission is to empower all generations to grow food to increase local food accessibility.
Our vision is to create localized food systems that bring communities together towards a healthier, more connected world in harmony with people and planet. We accomplish this by converting underutilized lawn space into productive localized edible gardens or micro farms. Our program works to provide edible landscaping to schools, community centers and affordable housing units. we also serve businesses and individuals through our community farming initiative and Edible Landscapes garden installation service. Together, we are changing the cycle of food.
Fleet Farming originated in Orlando, Florida, in 2014 during a monthly workshop called The IDEAS Hive. Participants at this event collaborated on developing the Fleet Farming business model as a response to the environmental challenges posed by monoculture in agriculture. The workshop focused on finding ways for urban areas to grow food without agriculturally zoned land. The innovative solution that emerged was a sharecropping model that repurposes the most underutilized spaces—residential lawns.
City of Orlando soon passed a local landscape ordinance that permitted residents to dedicate up to 70% of their front yard to the cultivation of edible crops. This pivotal development paved the way for the establishment of the Fleet Farming program, allowing communities to transform their front lawns into productive and sustainable sources of locally grown food. Today, Fleet Farming inspires communities all over the world to change the cycle of food.
*Pictured is Chris Castro, one of the founders of Fleet Farming
Our current food system is full of inefficiencies, many of which stem from fossil fuel use during food production and transportation. The typical American meal travels an average of 1,500 miles from farm to table. In the US, we expend ten calories of fossil fuel energy in the atmosphere for every calorie of food we consume due to the transportation of the produce.
Meanwhile, lawns are one of the largest sources of U.S. pollution. There are 40-million acres of grass lawns in America that absorb three million tons of chemical fertilizers and 30-thousand tons of pesticides each year while requiring 800 million gallons of gasoline for mowing. That’s why we transform lawns into sustainable farm plots with produce sold to local vendors within a 5-mile radius.
By hosting Swarm Rides, free community events within the vicinity of the local farmlettes, we lead volunteers on bicycles to engage in farming within residential neighborhoods and learn how to farm their own lawns. In conjunction with Swarm Rides, we offer internships with our mother non-profit IDEAS For Us that can be used as school credit towards college degrees.
Our programs and events provide important educational tools imperative for social change and national food security. Together, we can preserve the knowledge of how to feed oneself while providing healthy produce to local communities. Every neighborhood deserves the right to have healthy options in abundance right outside their front doors.
Urban agriculture stimulates the local economy by providing interest to businesses that are joining in the local food movement. Whether it’s local restaurants that are cycling in local food into their menus, or small businesses at farmers’ markets that are a part of bringing interest to communal shopping, our communities are catching on to the taste of organically grown food that is good for both ourselves and our environment.
With the average age of a U.S. farmer at 58 years old (USDA 2012 Census), Fleet Farming Orlando is training the next generation farmers through our Swarm Rides, free community events, and our internship program, ensuring a future of food producers.
Fleet Farmlettes is an urban agriculture initiative that creates a localized food system in select residential neighborhoods in Orlando, Florida. This serves as a model for communities to learn how to grow food. Communities also learn about sustainable food systems from farm to local market to table. These are common lawns that have been converted into productive urban farmland that the Fleet Farming team helps to maintain by bicycle. This model supports local vendors and SNAP Certified Farmer’s Markets while splitting the produce with our Farmlette Hosts to which the farms are located. This system contributes to promoting healthy lifestyles, a healthy planet, and a community connected to food.
We host free farming events called Swarm Rides three times a month. This allows community members to engage in community supported farming while learning how to grow food. These rides are currently only available in Orlando, FL. All information is provided on our Events page.
Edible Landscapes is a garden installation service of the Fleet Farming Program. Our team of experienced growers build raised bed gardens full of vegetables and herbs as well as planting fruit trees and installing broader edible landscaping. This service allows Fleet Farming to expand its mission to the Central Florida community in a way that makes it easy for all generations to grow food that saves you money on your grocery bill. Our low-maintenance growing systems allow us to re-purpose virtually any underused outdoor space into a garden for farmers of all experience levels. The process is simple: We help you to set up a consultation for your specific growing space, create a free garden design with you, and build your complete garden ready for you to enjoy. Contact us today to transform your lawn into abundant, Edible Landscapes.
Learn how to grow food from the Fleet Farming team. Fleet Education is a service that seeks to educate, inspire, and empower community members to grow their own food. Our team of educators offers hands-on learning opportunities that connects people to the study and application of plant science.We offer engaging presentations from Gardening 101 to Food Systems as well as offering private team-building farming events in Orlando, Florida. This option engages locals in Corporate Social Responsibility, volunteering, and collaborative impact. Learn more about Fleet Education