HOW TO BE A GREEN MA­CHINE

Can’t con­trol your gar­den? John An­thony finds a Kiwi who’s rais­ing a ‘farmy army’.

Sunday News - - NEWS -

FED up spend­ing your week­ends mow­ing a patch of grass you never get to lounge about on? Not sure whether you can tell your weeds from your wis­te­ria? A truly ground-break­ing Kiwi com­pany is help­ing the lessthan-green-fin­gered reap the re­wards of a well-tended veg­gie patch by turn­ing back yards into mi­cro-farms.

The idea is the brain­child of Ben Mayson, who ditched a cor­po­rate ca­reer to in­dulge his pas­sion for gar­den­ing while also cre­at­ing some­thing sus­tain­able and com­mu­nity-minded.

After four years work­ing over­seas, Mayson re­turned home to Auck­land with his wife and three kids last year and founded Farm­ster in Jan­uary, his first foray into life as an en­tre­pre­neur.

‘‘Farm­ster is a veg­etable de­liv­ery com­pany but, the twist is, we farm in other peo­ple’s back­yards,’’ Mayson said.

The busi­ness re­lies on two types of Auck­lan­ders: those who of­fer their back­yards for crops (farm­ers) and those want­ing fresh pro­duce de­liv­ered to their door (the cus­tomers).

Farm­ster al­ready has about 500 square me­tres of land pledged by house­holds of­fer­ing up their back­yards to be farmed. Plots have to be at least 12sqm and could be as big as 100sqm, and the land has to be ap­pro­pri­ate for grow­ing veg­eta­bles with good soil and plenty of sun, he said.

Mayson pre­pares the soil, plants sea­sonal crops and har­vests them when they’re ready.

The main thing he asks of his ‘‘farm­yarmy’’ is to keep their patches wa­tered. ‘‘The per­son has to be com­mit­ted be­cause we have to put a lot of work in to get that plot ready.’’

In re­turn farm­ers re­ceive a a $10 dis­count on a weekly box of veg­eta­bles de­liv­ered to their door for $15. Mayson said the pro­duce was priced com­pa­ra­bly to farm­ers’ mar­ket prices, with the added bonus of be­ing home de­liv­ered.

He was hop­ing to achieve same­day har­vest and de­liv­ery with all of the wash­ing and box­ing done at a pack­ing sta­tion set up his home in Water­view.

‘‘You’re go­ing to be get­ting su­per lo­cal, su­per fresh

You’ll get su­per lo­cal veg­eta­bles har­vested in the morn­ing and de­liv­ered in the af­ter­noon.’

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