Crop Swap LA is a social enterprise seeking to grow food on unused spaces, creating sustainable green jobs and hyperlocal, nutrient-rich food, with participants getting part of the revenue.
Community Sharing Nature’s Abundance
Since October 2018, Crop Swap LA has united gardeners across Los Angeles to grow and share their extra fruit, vegetables, herbs, and valuable homemade items with each other and the community.
Neighbours pay for monthly subscriptions to the ultra-local food
When Jamiah Hargins started a vegetable garden of his own at home a few years ago and ended up growing more than he and his wife could eat, he turned to Nextdoor to set up produce swaps with neighbours. Then he started thinking about how to create the infrastructure to grow local food at a larger scale, and Crop Swap LA was born.
“My company partners with homeowners who have a front yard and want to do something positive,” Hargins, the founder of Crop Swap LA, a startup that installs and manages the community gardens, which it calls microfarms, told Adele Peters for Fast Company.
Neighbours pay for monthly subscriptions to the ultra-local food, and homeowners get both a share of the produce and a cut of the proceeds. “We maintain it, but they get part of the income every month,” Hargins says.
View Park, the neighbourhood where the first microfarm has been planted, is considered a food desert because residents there don’t have easy access to large supermarkets. Through Crop Swap LA, residents can subscribe to a 3-pound mix of fresh, organic greens and vegetables for $36 a month, or $43 with delivery.
The company mainly works in front yards both because it’s often unused space—homeowners can still use their backyards—and so its own team can easily visit twice a week to tend the plants, harvest the food, and distribute the bounty to subscribers.
Guiding principles of crop swap la
- Regenerative Organic Soil is Life
It’s hard to get what your body needs when even organic food is often grown in nutrient-deficient fields. Nutritious food is a right, not a luxury.
Crop Swap LA™ believes food should be:
- Nutrient-grown in enriched and tested soil; for perfect mineral and nutrient composition
- Free of pesticides or any GMO seed usage.
Grown this way, veggies and fruit are easier to ingest into the body, provide us with with nutrients we need and will last longer in your refrigerator.
- Rainwater Harvesting & Water Recycling A SoCal Garden Must
Southern California has many environmental challenges. The biggest however, is a lack of water. Everyday, the region imports 1.5 billion gallons of water!
Thankfully, people have not even scratched the surface in Rainwater Harvesting. Capturing free rainwater for future irrigation reuse must be part of the next sustainable evolution of the City of Los Angeles.
Crop Swap LA™ is partnering with EnviroscapeLA and Mike Garcia for future installations, ensuring their impact is net positive.
Nature offers an abundance of chances to regain control of our food, money, social habits and environment.
- Local Nutrient Transfer
Imagine if they grew all this food nearby and sold it elsewhere… it would re-create the environmental malpractices, equity-ignorant distribution patterns, and extract, instead of regenerate.
At Crop Swap LA™, they commit to targeting 80% of their food sales within the zip codes the food area grown.
Crop swap la founder Jamiah E. Hargins Bio
Jamiah E. Hargins is a chronic social entrepreneur, community leader, and self-proclaimed gardening engineer. He is the founder of Crop Swap LA, which is determined to grow food on unused spaces, creating green jobs, independent economies, and nutrient-dense food.
He recently opened the world’s first water-recycling front yard garden, which uses just 8% of the water previously used for grass to grow over 600 plants for 35 families, recycling hundreds of gallons of water.
Hargins’ innovative business and design models gained the attention of LA City officials looking for sustainability solutions around water, food, and economic sustainability, and he was named a Good Food Champion in 2019.
He also invented ToiletTrees, a patented device that hooks onto your toilet and uses the clean water to grow fragrant and odour-eating plants. Jamiah is also a member at BREAUX Capital, a financial technology company focused on Black millennial men who launch and invest in each other’s businesses.
Jamiah began his career as a stock and equity options trader, a corporate headhunter, and a non-profit program leader. Jamiah is a graduate of the African American Board Leadership Institute, the University of Chicago, and Columbia University.
Hargins, a practicing Taoist, is a father of a 3-year old little girl, and husband to a school administrator,
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