When Matt Fahy's family moved to Largo six years ago from St. Louis, there was nothing but clumps of weedy grass in the center of their circular driveway. Three years ago he put in a flower bed and started a compost pile. Then trees: Jamaican cherry, moringa, key lime. • He brought in piles of composted manure from a local stable and ordered free mulch from the city. He piled it 2 feet thick. With a background in construction, Fahy built raised beds and a greenhouse out of old dock wood, pier posts and windows. Most of the materials came from Dumpsters. • He planted sweet potatoes to hold the dirt in place. Soon the family was eating home-grown Brussels sprouts, long beans, watermelon and yellow squash. • About 60 percent of his family's diet comes from the gardens that surround his home. Not just the back yard, but side yards, and yes, the front. Sunflowers stretch skyward under the bedroom window. Backyard beds hold cabbage, tomatillos, peppers, sweet potatoes, Okinawan spinach, a plum tree. • Wife Cindi Hetz helps with some tasks, such as using a paintbrush to manually pollinate from male flower to female flower. Daughter Maxine helps as only a 5-year-old can. Matt will garden late into the night. He'll tap on the window and tell his wife to turn on the light. • "I feel a need to blend in with my environment," he says. "I don't just live here. This is a home for the birds and the bugs, and I'm supposed to be sharing this place."
Living Green is a series of occasional stories by photographer Lara Cerri about people whose lifestyles support the environment. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.