Time to Grow, Interview with Backyard Edibles Podcast transcription Sherry Lalonde: Hi, my name is Sherry and I’m the food literacy specialist at the Ottawa Public Library. Recently, we spoke with Madeleine Maltby and Matthew Mason-Philip of Backyard Edibles about farming in the city. This interview was conducted by Amanda Vollmershausen, Carleton University journalism school graduate. Madeleine Maltby: I was interning on an organic farm before I started my own business and I’d heard about SPIN farming so it stands for: Small Intensive… Small Plot Intensive Farming. So you’re growing a high-yield in a very small amount of space so it’s different techniques and a different model than your typical rural market garden. Amanda Vollmershausen: After trying the SPIN method for the summer in Britannia she decided to approach her neighbors to expand her agricultural footprint with more backyards and offer cooperative shares with the proceeds. Madeleine Maltby: A lot of people were kind of, confused a little and hadn’t heard about the idea, and so, but then a lot of people were like, wow! You know, zero maintenance vegetable garden in my backyard, yes, sign me up. It was great success. It was amazing, and it was all within one neighborhood and all the CSA members were part of that neighborhood so it was a very, close-knit community kind of project. Very hyperlocal, not just local but hyperlocal. You know, it’s a neighborhood that’s feeding a neighborhood. It’s just that much of a closer relationship. Matthew Mason-Philip: So the main benefit of using land in this way is that typically speaking you don’t have to buy it. That’s a huge impediment to young and new farmers. From, sort of a legal standpoint in the case of Ottawa there were a few forward thinking councillors and generally support for this kind of work. In that respect everything that we do is perfectly legal and sanctioned by the city. Amanda Vollmershausen: With a successful if small scale operation under their belts the two say they would like to expand to make other urban areas more productive. Matthew Mason-Phillip: Personally I’d like to start partnering with more public institutions so to speak or even certain government campuses like Tunney’s Pasture would be a good example. They not only have the land to support a well-sized food production system but could immediately benefit themselves in-house from the availability of good quality organic food not only offset some of their costs but also the social cost of you know trucking in huge amounts of low-quality food to service their cafeterias. Amanda Vollmershausen: For now though, they face some unique challenges in running a business on other people’s property. Matthew Mason-Phillip: Ya there were so many, so many times, first thing in the morning or especially like, well after dark essentially sneaking or tiptoeing into someone’s yard, trying not to trip the motion lights and do a last minute watering or something like that before giving up for the night.