Iowa City-based Backyard Abundance has another innovative project underway.
Already, the nonprofit is at the forefront in designing edible landscapes and is helping Iowa City start its first edible forest, at Wetherby Park.
Today, director Fred Meyer announced a new initiative called “Pick Me!” that goes back to the basics in offering free fresh fruits, vegetables and more to everyone.
Here is more about the project from Backyard Abundance:
IOWA CITY – In celebration of the Iowa City Blue Zones Project, Backyard Abundance is launching the Pick Me! project to help provide free, healthy food to everyone. The idea is simple: fruits, nuts, vegetables, and herbs are planted in residential front yards, in public parks, at churches and schools, and in front of businesses. Yields are free to harvest by anyone.
To encourage harvesting, Backyard Abundance is providing template signs on its website that can be placed alongside plants. The signs provide information about when and how to harvest the food. View the signs: http://www.backyardabundance.org/Portals/0/p/Handout-PickMe.pdf.
In addition to providing signs, free tomato plants will be available at the Backyard Abundance plant sale to anyone willing to place them where passersby can harvest the food. The sale is on Saturday, April 26 from 11 am to 1 pm at the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center at 220 S. Gilbert Street. Volunteers grew the plants for the project. Anyone who has extra food bearing plants is encouraged to bring them to the sale for distribution throughout the community.
The Blue Zones Project promotes well-being through the creation of environments that encourage healthy food and lifestyle choices. Planting free food is a simple way for people to participate in this mission.
Fred Meyer, director of Backyard Abundance, believes the idea will quickly spread and grow over many years. “While all other animals dine freely and happily, humans craft policies and elaborate processes that attempt to provide healthy food to everyone. Why are we so different? We have vast amounts of space in front yards and public parks that could easily grow an abundance of food, especially if it is perennial food such as fruits and berries.”
The idea was inspired by two longtime Backyard Abundance volunteers who placed a cherry tomato plant in their front yard with a sign saying people could harvest the food. It was further bolstered by the Food is Free project in Austin, Texas.
People are encouraged to take pictures of their freely available edibles and post them on social media websites. Pictures can also be sent to Backyard Abundance at info@BackyardAbundance.org for posting on their Facebook page.
For more information visit www.BackyardAbundance.org or call 319-325-6810.
Backyard Abundance is an Iowa City-based nonprofit that helps build vibrant communities by creating beautiful, resilient landscapes that provide healthy food and habitat.
Blue Zones employs evidence-based ways to help people live longer, better. The Company’s work is rooted in the New York Times best-selling books The Blue Zones and Thrive—both published by National Geographic books. In 2009, Blue Zones applied the tenets of the books to Albert Lea, MN and successfully raised life expectancy and lowered health care costs for city workers by 40%. Blue Zones takes a systematic, environmental approach to well-being which focuses on optimizing policy, building design, social networks, and the built environment. The Blue Zones Project is based on this innovative approach. For more information, visit www.bluezones.com.