One of IDEAS most unique and successful programs is Fleet Farming. Headquartered at the East End Market, Fleet Farming aims to cut out emissions from transporting produce by creating urban farmlettes on front yards while having volunteers on bikes harvest the produce every two weeks. By using “peddle power” Fleet Farming actively cuts down green house emissions while giving the community an opportunity to buy local, fresh, and organic produce that has no environmental footprint. Over the past two years fleet farming has harvested one 1,650 pounds of lettuce, peddled an accumulative 3,078, and saved over 3,300 pound of CO2 from being emitted. Fleet Farming has converted 11 lawns to urban farmlettes, most in Audubon Park. At these farmlettes you can find…
Salad Greens- Asian Mix (Siberian Kale, Red Russian Kale, Toscano Kale, Arugula, Mizuna)Elegance Mix (Pac Choi, Mizuna, Red Mustard, Leaf Broccoli, Scarlet Frills)Vibrant Mix (Baby Chard, Bibb, Black Seeded Simpson, Red Oak Leaf, Sorrel)Native Mix (Bibb, Baby Chard, Cranberry Hibiscus, Okinawa Spinach, Katuk, Florida Spinach)
Sauté Greens- Cabbage, Collards, Kale (Curly, Lacinato and Red Russian), Mustard Greens, RootsBeets, Carrots, Purple Top Turnips, Radishes
Herbs & Flowers- Borage, Cilantro, Dill, Fennel,Parsley (Flat, Curled), Mammoth Sunflowers, Marigolds, Nasturtium
Other/Summer Crops- Alfalfa, Cowpea, Cranberry Hibiscus, Okra, Lufa, Malabar, Spinach, Mooring, Purple Sweet Potato, Seminole Pumpkin
Fruits- Avocado, Banana, Citrus, Kumquat, Loquat, Longan, Mango, Mulberry, Passion Fruit, Papaya, Prickly Pear, Starfruit
Heather Grove has been with Fleet Farming since its conception two years ago. As Program Coordinator Heather has been in charge of organizing swarm rides to harvest the produce, preparing the produce to be sold, and promoting Fleet Farming to increase sales and volunteers. When asked about what she was most proud of Heather said, “I am most proud of the fact that just within two years we have developed a scalable urban farming model… I’m even more proud of the unplanned byproducts the program has created, like re-building of community, a culture of health, and an increased awareness of the impacts our food choices have on ourselves and the environment.”
Heather plans to continue working with Fleet Farming as a Farm Advisor while she travels to Darjeeling, India to study yoga and work with World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms to learn more about urban organic farms. Then she will spend time in northwest Thailand helping a group of Burmese woman establish an organic co-op. As Advisor Heather will be applying for grants and advising new and current programs on how to run their operation.
Taking over as Program Coordinator will be Michele Bumbier. Michele has been working with Fleet Farming for a very long time now and is the perfect candidate to take over for Heather. When asked what she was looking forward to she said, “Our new installation program has great promise. It will allow us to provide our services to people outside of the Branch’s range of farmlettes”. She continued by saying that with spring approaching they are hoping to add six more farmlettes, including one at The Sanctum, a big buyer of Fleet produce. Fleet Farming is also planning on adding new greens, herbs, and roots to there garden providing a larger variety of products. She finished by saying, ” I am looking forward to gleaning more fruit trees in the area. The summer provides an abundance of banana, papaya, cantaloupe, lychee, mango, passion fruit, and more!”.
With these exciting changes coming to Fleet Farming the spring season has potential to be one of the best seasons yet. Good luck to Heather as she embarks on her next journey, even though she still with us as an advisor, and congratulations to Michele on her new position with Fleet Farming, we know you will do a spectacular job!