Mia Vaughnes Founder, Good Neighbor Gardens, Urban Sharecrop I recently listed a home in University Heights with the most charming vegetable garden in the front yard. When I asked the homeowners about it, they couldn't wait to tell me all about Good Neighbor Gardens, and it's founder, Mia Vaughnes. First of all, I couldn't believe I'd never heard of Mia and the excellent work she's doing, and I was so excited to get her on the phone for an interview. Mia is full of energy and exudes love and goodwill--even over the phone. She greeted me as if I were an old friend and then told me her story.
Mia was Good Neighbor Gardens provides garden installation and consistent maintenance for homeowners, who they affectionately call "The Gracious Neighbor." Their skilled team assesses the land, develops design proposals, and works with the homeowner to create an ideal back (or front!) yard plan. Then their Fabulous Farmhands provide labor to keep the garden maintained, and help the homeowner to harvest their bounty twice a month. And this is where it gets good. The Gracious Neighbors keep all the food they want and donate the rest to the Harvest Share. Similar to a CSA box, ANYONE can subscribe to get a Harvest Share box twice a month. The food in the box is harvested from neighborhood gardens and micro-farms the same day they're delivered to subscribers. "More than anything, this is a community development project. It's a Gracious Neighbor who has a yard and is willing to grow food and share it. Graciousness from people who have the means to people who don't. Neighbors feeding Neighbors.” Mia Vaughes Harvest Share Box participants also get produce from other micro-farms in San Diego. Farms who subscribe to the same philosophy of organic, sustainable farming. But wait, there's more! Because schools are the heart of every community, Good Neighbor Gardens teams up with schools to help teach kids to get outdoors, learn about food production, natural science, and engineering. The farmhands mentor and nurture young stewards of the land, and the cafeteria serves the food they grow together. Additional surplus food goes to groups such as Jewish Family Service, which opens their food pantry to families in need. Want to do some real good in your community? For the environment? For local schools and those in need? Go to goodneighborgardens.com to learn more about Mia and her fantastic company!