HOW TO BE A GREEN MACHINE
Can’t control your garden? John Anthony finds a Kiwi who’s raising a ‘farmy army’.
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.’