Share the Bounty

The BioGardeners are looking for a few urban landowners who can look at a vegetable garden and see romance.

“These are the people who see the farmer behind the table at the farmers market and have a twinge of jealousy,” says BioGardener-owner Jeremy Walther. “They know farming is hard work, but they also see the romance of growing your own food on a philosophical level. And maybe they do grow some vegetables, but they just can’t keep up with it.”

In that case, Jeremy and his partner, Rick Zarria, have a proposition: the BioGardener Farms Organic Garden Co-op, where backyard gardeners share the wealth—your excess poblanos for my extra tomatoes. 

BioGardener, a strictly organic landscaping company, serves as the $40-per-hour, hired middleman. Services can be as simple as providing one hour of consulting each month, or as complicated as building a co-op member’s vegetable garden from the ground up, and maintaining it.

At minimum, Jeremy says, he or one of his employees will make sure organic practices are being followed and stop potential gardening problems in their tracks.

“We have access to people like Mike Nolan, who was the former manager at Oasis CSA,” notes Jeremy. “If I’m standing in your yard looking at insect damage, I can call Mike and ask him what to do.”

Post harvest, co-op members swap goodies, then work together to sell any excess produce at a farmers market and donate the proceeds to a local charity—an unusual mixture of CSA, neighborliness and hiring a gardener when you’re too busy to do it yourself.

As one of the first and only companies in Austin using propane- and biofuel-powered landscaping equipment, the BioGardeners aren’t afraid of a few risks or of new ideas.

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