We’re all familiar with the enormous amount of food waste that occurs within our own homes, but have you ever considered how much is lost before your groceries even hit the store shelves? The average American meal travels 1,500 miles from the farm to your shopping cart, and the journey often results in an overall loss of up to 40%! The easiest way to reduce this unnecessary waste and conserve our precious resources is to increase our consumption of locally-sourced, nutritious food items and ingredients. Enter Fleet Farming!
Founded in 2014, Fleet Farming is a program from IDEAS for US, a locally-based, United Nations accredited nonprofit organization. With this program, dedicated individuals are seeking to increase our local food production and provide quality produce to underserved communities. By transforming unused lawn space into food-producing gardens, Fleet Farming will change the cycle of food and create a healthier world.
Fleet Farming’s Mission
Our mission is to empower all generations to grow food [and] 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, affordable housing units, businesses and individuals through our community farming initiative and Edible Landscapes garden installation service. Together, we are changing the cycle of food.
How will Fleet Farming achieve its mission?
The Fleet team is achieving its mission through several innovative, creative, and effective programs – all of them creating unique spaces for food production in an urban environment.
Perhaps Fleet Farming’s largest project, Farmlettes, are converted lawn space – transforming previously underutilized yards into urban farmland! Throughout Audubon Park, a Northeast Orlando neighborhood, Fleet Farming has created a network of these farmlettes. Staff help residents maintain and grow the crops, yielding beautiful produce to sell at the local markets. As an added bonus, the organization ensures that all Farmlettes are located within biking distance to reduce staff carbon emissions and environmental pollution as they travel from plot to plot.
If you live outside of Fleet Farming’s in-ground Farmlette radius, you can still participate in the Edible Landscape program! By adding a raised cedar bed, fruit tree, or miniature food forest to your yard, you can help grow healthful food for your family and friends. And to support your urban farming efforts, you can even schedule a maintenance appointment with Fleet Farming’s garden experts to keep your crops healthy and your harvest bountiful.
In addition to private Edible Landscapes, the organization provides community gardens to at-risk populations such as senior centers, schools, and shelters. This program provides a steady supply of healthy, natural foods to fuel these individuals to reach their ultimate potential.
As part of their initiative to make urban farming accessible for everyone, the Fleet staff provide extensive educational opportunities; including 20 entry-level classes for gardening tips, pest-management, local wildlife, and much more! There are remote learning options, or you can invite a representative to speak to your professional or social group. Visit their website to learn more or register for a class!
How You Can Help Fleet Farming
As the organization continues to grow, they need help expanding their facilities and programming. Of course, direct donations are always appreciated. But if you’re looking for another option – here are three ways to support Central Florida urban farming!
Eat More Veggies!
Join their Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) program! This is one of the best ways to get involved with Fleet Farming. For $20-35 a week, you can receive a full (10-11 items; 8-9 lbs) or half (6-7 items; 4-5 lbs) share of their fresh, locally-grown produce. You will need to pick up your produce weekly on Monday afternoons. If you’re interested in joining the CSA or would like additional information, read this!
Shop with a purpose at Fleet’s very own online store, selling adorable t-shirts, tank tops and tote bags.
With a full calendar of fundraising and social events, the best way to stay updated on all of the current happenings is to follow Fleet Farming on social media. You can find them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!
Thank you, Fleet Farming, for taking the time to chat about your programs! You are filling an important role in the Orlando community!