Fleet Farming Takes Audubon by 'Swarm'

Visit the Fleet Farming booth at the Monday night market for hyper-local greens.
You know that green slime that gathers in your store-bought salad mix five days after purchase? It’s a real drag when the healthy option spites you for avoiding fast food. Seems like a waste of time. Maybe it is, because that salad is often assembled from large swaths of land thousands of miles away growing romaine en masse and stuffing it in a box to be sold to a consumer a week later. Not to mention the oxygen-free gases pumped into the bags, meant to preserve the greens for even longer than they should last. Sounds a bit like fast food, no?

Fleet Farming came to Audubon Park & the surrounding neighborhoods to fix that. Listen up, Orlando: Now delicious salad can be in your fridge for upwards of two weeks. For burgers, omelets, garnishes and best of all – fresh crunchy salads. This is for real y’all!

A fleet of bikes bring the fresh greens to market.

Fleet Farming is the product of East End Market and local environmental think tank organized by Ideas For Us, called The Hive. Every first Wednesday of the month, this group gathers in East End’s APEX to take on an environmental issue and brainstorm solutions to increase healthy local food access, reduce resource-wasting lawns, and eliminate farming-related CO2 emissions, which currently comprise 1/3 of all emissions.

Farmlettes are pretty and they don't take up too much space.

Chris Castro and heather Grove, Fleet Farming’s Program Coordinators, currently manage 13 farmlettes throughout Audubon, Winter Park, and ColonialTown. They grow crops such as red romaine, mizuna, and bibb lettuces, which they harvest every Sunday & Monday. They also invite the community to join them for ‘SWARM rides,’ during which the eponymous fleet of bicycles travels to each farmlette, learning how to farm by doing.

Teaching little farmers how  to care for and harvest the farmlette.

It’s a novel concept, but not likely a gimmick or a passing trend. $3 a third pound bag of the kind of lettuce mix farm-to-table chefs drool over is certainly not a fad.

The best part – it didn’t travel an epic journey across the continent. For many of us, it likely traveled a shorter distance than our average trip to the grocery. Pick up your greens every Monday night and say no to the slime in 2015!

Pick up your greens at the Audubon Park Community Market in front of Stardust Video & Coffee every monday from 6-10pm.