“Suburban farming” featured in Florida Weekly

Mark Anderson of Benchmark General Contractors, is quoted on this cover-story for Florida Weekly.

Suburban farming

Living off your land, often at your own risk

Backyard farming is certainly not “unique, historically,” admits Southwest Florida builder Mark Anderson, CEO of Benchmark General Contractors, and a backyard gardener. But he sees this common-sense feature of American life coming back. Mr. Anderson suggests urban vegetables gardens make just as much sense now as they did decades ago before falling out of fashion, in the wake of cheaply processed foods and the rise of fast-food giants.

“Where we historically were at with our land use and lifestyle was the unique part — we were totally out of touch as consumers. Now we’re back to where we’ve been, which is a good place to be.”

And as a builder, he is in favor of sustainable developments that include deliberately designed space for gardens, in both residential and commercial settings. That includes not just backyard gardens but urban community gardens — ones that taste great and look good, too — in places like empty lots.

“It’s pretty easy to do,” Mr. Anderson said.