Urban farming is one of the fastest growing trends for people living in cities. It’s a nice way of combining the hustle and bustle of city life with the down-to-earth nature of growing and tending your own food.
Urban farming is not exactly a new trend, per se, but with growing concerns over food safety and a demand for organic and pesticide-free food, many are finding it easier to grow it themselves, than risk the cross contamination of harmful substances.
If you're looking to start your own urban farm, congratulations on taking the first step to an eco-friendly path to fresh produce and herbs. You don't need a large area of space to get started, and even apartment dwellers can find themselves a gardener, as many apartment roofs can be converted from your standard tar to an eco-friendly alternative, such as soil or mulch. Many apartments hold committees throughout; some include a building on-site committee or a social committee - offering the perfect opportunity to voice your opinion on creating an urban farm.
There are multiple benefits to urban farming. It helps the local economy, and it doesn't take days or even weeks for the food to travel from the farm to the table. It’s a great way to provide more fresh fruits and vegetables into inner-city neighborhoods where they are less likely to be found on the dinner table.
If you’re looking for an urban farming opportunity, and you live in a private residence (such as a house), you can easily turn a small space into a renewable urban farm. Many eco-savvy homes have gone away with the traditional backyard and in turn, created a completely customized garden, featuring many fruits, vegetables, and herbs (some homes have completely done away with having to purchase produce during growing seasons). This allows for a self-sustaining urban farm ... some not even 10-feet by 10-feet large. Cool, right?
Consider planting vegetables to harvest at varying times of the year with your urban farm. Mixing early summer strawberries with later autumn vegetables like squash is the perfect opportunity to have a variety of delicious produce at any time of the year. Also consider planting vegetables (or fruits) for canning; an easy way to save on your winter grocery shopping, while preserving some of your home grown goods at the same time.
Canning options vary greatly, but salsas, chutneys and even sauces (think tomato or pesto) are quick to make, and keep for many months if canned properly. You should also consider including a variety of pickling vegetables in your garden, from cucumbers to beets, carrots and onions. Many vegetables taste fabulous when pickled, and some pickled vegetables can keep for years before spoiling.
Whether you're looking for an eco-friendly alternative to traditional produce, or you're simply looking to start eating locally - from your own backyard - urban farming is an easy way to feed your family, without having to stare at increasing prices, or wonder what's on or in the produce (think pesticides or GMOs … scary!), that wouldn't be in your urban farm.
If you don't have space for your own garden, sign up for YardYum and look for available plots nearby.
Now get out there and grow!
Kane Miller from YardYum
Kane has a background in engineering, but now focuses on environmental sustainability. He grew up on a 12-acre hobby farm and was fortunate to have been introduced to organic gardening at a young age.