The sign of success used to be who had the best lawn, declares edible garden guru Todd Lininger, telling Brand X that Now, it's all about how much food you can grow. No matter that buying organic foods at Whole Foods or Safeway is typically cheaper than raising your own crops, the demand for backyard farms is still going through the roof, with upstart consulting companies like Lininger's Farmscape and San Clemente's My Backyard Farm struggling to keep up with demand and even turning clients away. Installing your own micro-farm can run between $900 to $2,400 for a plot big enough to feed four, but the point is really not saving money so much as keeping up with the Joneses. Jeremy Oldfield of New Haven's Freelance Farmers explains that the real thrills come from "the joy of picking a tomato in the afternoon that's still warm from the sun, or having a dinner party and being able to point out to your guests that most of the meal came out of your backyard.
Picking green gardens: Backyard harvesting grows popular [L.A. Times/Brand X]