Today’s newspaper explores the Denver City Council task force on the sharing economy as they try to get a handle on the impacts of Uber and Lyft, AirBnB and VRBO. Last year they passed the Cottage Food Act allowing urban farmers and others to create limited food businesses from residences. There are pros and cons to the regulation of the sharing economy but its strength is shown by the need of cities to engage and recognize this new level of local economy. If you can’t beat ‘em, regulate ‘em!
This new developing economy is changing the way we see and use our homes. Homes are now creating value rather than simply draining our resources through mortgages and rent, dependent only on volatile real estate markets. A home that can facilitate a supplemental income of a few thousand dollars a year in producing fresh produce or a small business in baking or canning could create the opportunity for a parent to stay home with children rather than take limited jobs that would barely cover child care in the first place. Creative adults bound to home due to disability or caring for a loved one with disabilities might be able to earn a few thousand dollars from home by growing herbs and vegetables and selling them at local markets.
More than a decade of unemployment and underemployment has kindled a do-it-yourself drive in many people to attain their own form of sovereignty. Urban farming is one of the most accessible home businesses if you have some yard space, like being outdoors, and enjoy meeting new people at markets. Using natural growing methods focused on healthy soil, bio-intensive planting, and techniques for growing year-round an urban farmer could see revenues in the thousands of dollars from a backyard. Creative marketing and value-added preservation techniques could double or triple that.
If you want to learn more about opportunities in urban farming come to Feed Denver’s Grow Food Symposium, March 20th & 21st at the Highland Event Center.