One Bay Shore resident has traded in her grass to make way for a yard of radishes, lettuce and tomatoes.
All with the help of an “urban farming” group called Lawn Island Farms.
The goal of the fledgling organization, founded within the past year, is to build a healthier and more sustainable community through hyper-locally grown organic produce, says co-founder Jim Adams, 42. So close, that opening your front door is the only obstacle to accessing fresh crops.
“We have plenty of land [on Long Island], we shouldn’t be flying in pesticide-filled [crops],” says Adams.
Trimarco moved into her Hyman Avenue house on May 1 and the conversation with Lawn Island Farms began soonafter.
According to Lawn Island Farms, it took about two weeks of heavy pilling to get the initial seeds down, but now everything is in process. Trimarco herself has no farming responsibilities; she just enjoys the view while getting $30 worth of crops per week.
“It’s great; I love it,” said Trimarco, “It’s attracting a lot of great things and it’s beautiful.”
Lawn Island Farms takes the freshly grown produce and sells it to local businesses and the farmers markets in Bay Shore and Sayville.
The whole idea of a front-lawn-farm began when Adams quit his pool servicing job in search of what he described as something more “meaningful.”
That’s when Jim and his wife, Rosette Basiima Adams, 34, started thinking about growing locally.
For Rosette, who is from Uganda, she found it odd to learn Americans didn’t grow their own food. It wasn’t until she was 25 and moved to the U.S. that she visited her first grocery store.
“When I first saw a supermarket I was excited and wowed,” she said. “Then I saw the food wasn’t fresh and was genetically modified.”
With the guidance of his wife, Jim started researching farming techniques. He picked up a book called The Urban Farmer by Curtis Stone.
Everything clicked from there.
(Curtis Stone is a Canadian farmer who popularized the term urban farming after grossing $75,000 per year on only one third of an acre, according to his website.)
“I’m just following everything in the book,” said Jim. “And it’s all coming true; [Stone] even predicted the media would come.”
His journey also led him to meeting husband and wife Mike Sparacino and Vanessa Viola, the owners of Jack Jack’s Coffee House in Babylon, who offered him growing advice as a farmers themselves.
Sparacino recommended that the couple visit St. Peter’s Farm, which is a lot hidden behind St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Bay Shore. Both Jim and Rosette visited the church, where they agreed to take over 10,000 square feet of land.
“We never even knew that land was back there,” said Jim. “Who knew?”
Jim also left a flier at Jack Jack’s asking people to “consider turning [their] lawn into a small local farm and at the same time eliminating landscaping expenses.”
“We are a place to share ideas that might be thinking out of the box,” said Sparacino.”So, when he put the poster up here, we had a great response.”
Trimarco, who is a frequent customer at Jack Jack’s, was beyond excited to see the flier — being someone who was interested in growing her own food, but was restricted land-wise.
“I would grow little basil in cans, but that never worked out,” she said laughing.
After reading the ad she called immediately.
“[Jack Jack’s] was the catalyst and connection between [Lawn Island Farms] and myself,” she said.
Trimarco’s property was a perfect fit for the farm makeover.
Now, Lawn Island Farms is trying to use their first urban farm’s success story to inspire others to grow locally.
“There are a lot of people who care about where there food comes from and seek it,” said Jim. “But if more of these small farms keep growing then even people who don’t care will be provided with [fresh food].”
“They deserve better… we all deserve better.”
If you’d like to support Lawn Island Farms’ urban farm movement and to learn more about their story click here.