For many city-dwellers, the prospect of urban gardening sounds nice on paper ... until you realize your apartment's linen closet is a terrible place to store compost and shovels.
But local urban-agriculture nonprofit Grow Pittsburgh is trying to solve that problem using principles of the sharing economy.
"I'm at community gardens all the time where people are like, ‘How do I start this at my house?'" says Jessica McNally, Grow Pittsburgh's community-garden coordinator.
"It seems silly for one person to buy a tiller for hundreds of dollars when it can be shared amongst many. A lot of the community gardens we work with don't have the funds to purchase a tiller when they only use it once or twice."
The idea is simple: Starting Oct. 3, anyone with a Grow Pittsburgh membership (starting at $40, with discounts for people with lower incomes) can use the organization's "tool lending library" in Larimer to borrow anything from trowels and hand tools to larger items like tillers and weed whackers. Compost, mulch and straw will also be available.
"We've tossed around the idea for a while now. We got an awesome [$24,000 anonymous] grant to start the project [and it] came together really quickly," McNally says. And while the focus of the program is on tool-borrowing, McNally stresses that the hope is to create a community vibe "more like a co-op."