The organization initially provided free lawn conversions but decided to shift its focus later on. Tamara McFarland, a leader within the cooperation, was concerned that the lawn conversion project failed to reach individuals who would benefit the most from growing their own food. Most of the people applying for lawn conversions were long-term renters and homeowners with a stable income and the privilege of starting a backyard garden.
When the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit, the organization became even more motivated to move away from its lawn-conversion model, which required a number of volunteers working side-by-side for long stretches of time. To that end, the cooperation thought of starting a free mini-garden project to cater to those with limited lawn space and reduce in-person contact.
Starting a community mini-garden program
The organization created three to four-foot-long garden beds that are made of fabric grow bags filled with high-quality soil. These small garden beds were delivered fully planted with a variety of plant starts and basic gardening accessories. Because the mini-gardens are "ready to grow," the organization was able to reduce face-to-face contact amid the pandemic.
The group also provided educational resources to teach recipients how to care for their gardens. In addition, recipients were encouraged to reach out for help with any gardening questions they might have.