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BK Farmyards – a Subversive Urban Farming Concept

Here’s a worrying trend – people growing food in back yards! Whatever next!?

Stacey Murphy is obviously an enemy of all that is good in our consumption-oriented world. Almost certainly a deceptively slippery character, she positively oozes with dangerously contagious enthusiasm in this clip about her Brooklyn based urban guerilla BK Farmyards network, who, like the Portland, Oregon YourBackyardFarmer people I wrote about last year, are growing food for urbanites right in customers’ own back yards.

Don’t let that smile and the gorgeous back yard greenery fool you. Let’s face it, this just plain doesn’t make sense. We, the human race, persistently tried backyard farming for thousands of years. We grew food right where we lived and laboured. It didn’t work, of course, and we headed into the bright new age of the ‘Green Revolution’ instead. How do I know it didn’t work? Well, it’s obvious. It’s because we’re not doing it any more – duh!

With the advantage of hindsight, we can now look back over the last century’s experiments in large scale industrialised agriculture. Yes, it may systematically turn fertile lands into desert and may have transformed our soils into a massive carbon source instead of being the equally massive carbon sink it was. Yes, it may pollute and use exhorbitant quantities of precious water. Yes, it may be vulnerably dependent on waning supplies of fossil fuels and might have significantly reduced plant diversity worldwide. And yes, it may have enabled the mass transformation of societies the world over – ‘freeing’ people from the land so they can huddle in cities to create all the goods and services we never needed before but now cannot live another day without. But, before you blow these and other issues like them all out of proportion, please ask yourself: If the back yard farming concept were to get out to the masses and take hold, how, I beg you, will the middle man survive? How will corporate shareholders get fed? These people would have to start growing food themselves, with potentially disastrous impacts on the shape of our globalised world. That’s right – join the dots to complete the full picture before rashly heading out into the yard with your fork in hand. Then you might see your implement for what it really is – a dangerous weapon that threatens The System with an independent, self-sufficient citizenry that cannot easily be market-managed and controlled by those who really know what’s best for them. These people might even rediscover democracy.

Thomas Jefferson may have dreamt of America being a nation of farmersbut, he didn’t have the luxury of hindsight that we have today, did he?

Rather than this simplified, land-based model that could render wonderful profit-based modern capitalism obsolete, why not consider the expensive, techno-oriented, energy intensive, hydroponics-based vertical farming concept instead? Massive investment in monolithic ‘farmscraper’ factories may not provide a natural, healthy, microorganism-fed product but it does fulfil humanity’s innate need to do things the hard way, and more importantly, it gives us the ability to persevere a little longer with the very nearly successful capitalist system we’ve been painstakingly building at such great cost in health and happiness.

Next thing you know we’ll be falling for one of the ‘Get Rich Slowly Over A Lifetime Of Hard Work‘ ponzi schemes some are trying to trick us into.

But seriously: If you’re involved in a back yard farming project, do tell us about it – editor (at) – as we’d love to share what you’re doing with our readers.


  1. This is great – very entertaining! Love your writing style. I had to share this with my fellow urban farming tweeters. Our group organizes small backyard farms into coops and are just thrilled that backyard farming is finally – again – taking hold. Farming is “cool” again and happening where we live.

    1. Wicking beds are the same – fulfilling mankind’s need for complexity at the expense of cheap and easy natural gardening techniques that save greater amounts of water.

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