Backyards Become Mini Farms in South Jersey Man's 'MicroUrb' Concept

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CAMDEN COUNTY, N.J. -

For one Camden County-based software developer, gardening was once just a hobby.

Now he’s turned his hobby into a business and residents across Camden and Gloucester counties are watching closely, as organic produce is grown right in their own backyards.

“I think a lot of people’s perception is that if you don’t have some huge field or some huge piece of property, then you’re not really going to be able to grow food or grow enough food to be worth it,” said Jordan Damiani of Woodbury.

At their new Woodbury home, Damiani and his wife decided to give up some of their backyard in exchange for a small garden and fresh vegetables.

I think a lot of people’s perception is that if you don’t have some huge field or some huge piece of property, then you’re not really going to be able to grow enough food to be worth it.

“They don’t have to spend time and money mowing their lawns, which at the end of the day, doesn’t really give them anything in return for all that expense,” said Daniel Cortes, owner of MircroUrb.

Cortes frequents the Woodbury backyard and two other nearby pieces of land to use as an urban farm. 

He plants a variety of produce and pops in to take care of them.

There is no cost to the landowners, as they get to literally enjoy the fruits of his labor.

“They’re doing a benefit to the environment [and] to their own household because now they’re saving anywhere from between $20 to $40 on produce that they get," said Cortes. "And they didn’t even have to do the work; I did all the work!”

In return, the homeowners get to keep some of the produce, while the rest of it gets sold at local farmers markets and to a nearby restaurant. 

But with the amount of harvesting he’s been doing, there’s plenty of produce to go around.

“It’s great,” said Damiani. “To see his consistency and the way that he’s able to grow a useable amount of food throughout the year [is amazing].

"He keeps producing.” 

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Earlier this week, Cortes harvested four pounds of lettuce out of one plot in the backyard.

On the other side of the lawn, he’s currently working on another plot, which, by the holidays, will have 400 heads of lettuce — proving there’s no space too small to farm.

“If you’re tired of having to deal with your front or back lawn, feel free to reach out to me,” said Cortes.

The MicroUrb owner is currently looking for more land to use and local restaurants to sell to, as he continues to keep up with the expanding business. 

For more information, visit microurb.club.

Farmers Markets in South Jersey 


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