– by Colle Davis
Growing food in cities, ‘Urban Agriculture’ is the next big wave in providing food in the congested areas of population. The cost of transporting food to people within cities has become one of the largest components in its retail cost. The spread of rooftop gardens, vertical gardens, growing plants inside of warehouses and the use of vacant city lots is increasing as urban populations grow to a larger and larger percentage of the overall population of any area. Every country is involved in the urbanization trend and the need to feed city dwellers is the fastest growing logistical problem facing governments.
In the past six decades, the world has benefited from the green revolution, the increased efficiencies of farming, the expansion of the food pipeline from field to door and cheap energy costs. Now a reexamination is required covering every facet of food production because the energy costs are creating an increasingly heavy impact on food prices.
When residents of a city or part of a city are told there is no room to grow vegetable in an urban environment, the most amazing thing happens; people find acres of space in which to grow food. This ‘unused’ space is now being converted to food production and each vegetable, fruit or animal raised near where it is to be consumed reduces the carbon foot print of the consumer and the impact of the food on the environment.
Open fields and space to grow crops is becoming less of an issue in the food supply chain for some creative and hard working people. It is the focus, the will and the work required to grow foods locally that are the limiting factors in urban farming, not the space.
There is however, another growing and insidious factor that is often overlooked and yet has not yet shown up on anyone’s radar. Agribusiness will eventually be impacted by urban farming and they will want their ‘pound of flesh’ These companies are big, powerful and relentless and by working through their legislative stooges they can make any changes to improve and expand urban farming slower than necessary. (See article on Protecting the Food Supply ‘ What YOU Can Do’)
The idea of eating fresh vegetables and fruits from your own backyard, a roof top, a formerly vacant lot or from a warehouse converted to grow food has tremendous cache and power. A food production facility can be up and running in a kitchen window or front yard or other creatively discovered locations in a very short time. The startup cost for a food production unit is very small, the work involved reasonably low, and the rewards are invaluable and delightfully long lasting.
Growing a single tomato plant in the kitchen or living room window signals the start of someone’s personal commitment to their own secure future. Having even a tiny backyard or rooftop garden creates a deep sense of power and control over one’s future. Building and enjoying a Portable Farms™ Aquaponics System is true freedom in a package.
Food is the most important part of our lives and consuming locally grown food, especially that produced by one’s own family is becoming increasingly tied to urban survival. Growing a tomato plant that yields dozens of tomatoes over many months or a single lettuce plant that is grown, harvested and a new seedling planted in the same spot shift the power to the family who is involved in the process. Having the food at ones fingertips gives them the incentive to grow and procure more food locally.
Here are a couple of incredible ideas for modern urban farming: