This group of backyard farmers is one of ten finalists in our One-Block Party contest. The winner will be announced on September 20, 2011.


Morro Bay, CA


   The Beach Tractors. The Beach Tract, their neighborhood, is directly behind them.Eight families came together to form this team, and they’re not only creating a feast, they’re beautifying their neighborhood, too. John Diodati, an administrator for the County Public Works department by day and Head Tractor, explains:

“Historically a retirement community, most homes in Morro Bay are of modest size on very small lots. The elderly demographic, combined with the lack of reliable water (the town is almost 100% reliant on state water, with desalination used when state water is down) has made most homeowners abandon their gardens and cover their lots with rocks. The young families of the Beach Tract would like to demonstrate that not only can the long-neglected soil beneath these rocks be exposed to yield a bountiful harvest, but that there is also enough food resources within eyesight of our front doors to throw a lovely and memorable dinner party.”

Their entry included a detailed map of the neighborhood that pinpoints where fish harvesting will take place, using stand-up paddleboards (!) on the shore right across from the group’s row of houses. (Sounds as though this group might have a surfer or two.) Other plans: goat-raising, for milk to make cheese and butter; egg-laying chickens and chickens for meat, too; winemaking (the grapes will come from further inland); beekeeping, salt-making; and even audacious experiments with cornstarch (we’re looking forward to hearing more about that one). Team Beach Tractors is planning an entire kid’s garden, named El Jardin del Mar/Beach Garden—with signs in Spanish and English—and a whole multi-course menu for them, too, which they will cook themselves. “The children will have fun documenting the growing season using various media: photos, video interviews, original artwork and other creative ideas.” It almost makes us want to be kids again, just to join this team.

Left: The Burton kids clearing out the succulent garden to make room for veggies. Right: The Hale front yard is a perfect example of a Beach Tract home—rocks as far as the eye can see.

You May Like