“If there was only one tree like that in the world, you would think it was beautiful. But because there are so many, you just can’t see how beautiful it really is.”
-Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
A large city can be a world filled with tall buildings among the clouds, a constant rush of people and small living quarters, all of which doesn’t exactly paint a world ideal for producing natural growth. Creative individuals are looking to change that as blueberries, tomatoes and basil are currently growing in apartments, roof gardens and community centers throughout major urban environments. In a world of attention being drawn to organic produce versus genetically-modified food, urban farming provides urbanites with the accessibility to follow and control the path their food takes.
The path our food takes can easily be lost as it takes a complicated course from farm to consumer. Urban farming localizes the food and allows the consumer to have a say in how their food is grown. This culture brings back interest in how our food is grown, a process once a widely understood concept is now lost, especially among city goers. Urban farming allows for more food security for consumers with lower income. Organic food is often highly encouraged among health experts, however organic food is often too expensive for many people living in cities to purchase everyday. Urban gardening allows for consumers the ability to grow and consume their own organically grown produce. Start with some vegetable seeds and start growing your own garden right on your window. Window boxes allow for those living in the city to have the ability to maintain their own small garden outside which allows their plants and produce to get maximum light.
Animals can play a large role in life on the farm. Animals such as chickens can yield a large return to the farm such as eggs. Larger locations are of course required to maintain traditional farm animals, however if you have the space it is highly encouraged. Animals require a lot more work than garden produce would, however if you want to include animals to your space, goats are great animals to welcome into your farm to produce milk or just to add to the natural environment. Rabbits are also wonderful to add to your smaller spaces. If you want to dive into another garden sphere, organic beekeeping can be a great alternative.
There are so many great benefits for urban farming. Food security, as discussed earlier, can bring families and individuals the freedom to choose to buy organic produce instead of cheaper alternatives in the grocery store. It also has the potential to produce an income if the farmer chooses to harvest and sell their produce in farmers market or other outlets. Being an independent farmer also gives you the freedom to choose what you grow, not just what you eat. The possibilities are numerous and with a field of possibilities ranging from corn to basil, farming gives you the independence to choose. Urban farming also gives use to space that otherwise wouldn’t be used, such a city rooftop. Urban farming also draws community together and gives farmers a chance to interact and meet members of their neighborhood. Farming also forces people to go outside, look up and interact with nature around them. It allows you to be creative in the crowded cities we love and take part in the processes of the natural world.
Written by Katelyn Goetten
Tell Me More!
Q: What is another way to farm?
A: Here’s a Brooklyn startup takes a small space and turns it into a urban farming business:
Q: So what can an urban farm look like?
A: They can range from…
Q: Where can i start?
A: Any place that inspires you! Window gardens are small and easy ways to get your green thumb working. Herbs are especially good to start gardening. Follow your interests and start there. If flowers are your thing, great! If you want to start with vegetables, look for an opening at your community garden or start your own on your roof or expand your window box size if possible.