From back yards planted with everything imaginable to roof-top vegetable gardens, community spaces, front yard orchards, and window boxes — urban farmers grow where they are. The benefits literally “outgrow” the alternative. Urban farming is one of the most important movements of our time. Food is a central necessity that affects everything at once. More people live in cities than rural areas and hence urban farms literally bring the food to the people…without the average travel time of 4200 miles and many days!
Think if we grew food instead of just pretty flowers and grass. Every community is a local food economy waiting to come to life. The answer to climate change, the health crisis, and the recession economy is right outside our doors.
Did You Know This About Urban Farms?
They produce true organic food, providing health and nutritional benefits.
Urban farming allows farmers to grow crops in a more controlled and conscious manner. As a result, they have more possibilities to grow true organic food. The main reason something isn’t purely organic is because the farmer is forced by non-friendly environmental factors to use chemical pesticides for a good yield. However, with urban farming, the environmental factor is reduced to minimum, so the farms do not need to turn to chemical growth regulators. All it takes is good quality soil, plenty of lighting, and water.
When you feed your produce to your family, you’re less likely to douse it in poisons. Local food has more freshness, flavor, and nutrient retention because it goes through less transportation and processing. As the urban farming movement grows, it will mean more accessibility to nutritious local food and more time spent doing the healthy physical work of gardening. This could result in less obesity, less chronic disease, and decreased healthcare spending.
Urban farms play a role in fighting world hunger.
Even though we might not realize it, hunger still represents a huge issue even in developed countries. Nearly a billion people worldwide are undernourished. Urban agriculture can help people living in cities with inexpensive source of nutritious food. Child hunger statistics unveil a significant concern. More than 13 million children in the United States alone live in “food insecure” homes, according to recent research from the USDA.
They are better than the traditional food system.
Cutting out the middleman between producers and customers is one of the many benefits that come with urban farms. Most of the produced food is consumed either by the producer himself or by the local community.
Urban farms are more productive.
Surprisingly, urban farming allows us to produce as much as 100 times more food than regular farming per square foot. It has to do with the fact that urban farms often use vertical space, allowing growth of produce on multiple levels. So, a tasteful-looking urban farming system is all you need to make use of those 2 square feet of free space in an apartment.
They increase environmental stewardship.
Industrial agriculture is a major source of fossil fuel pollution. Petrochemicals are used to fertilize, spray, and preserve food. Plastics made from oil are used to package the food, and gasoline is used to transport food worldwide.
While industrial agriculture often maneuvers to avoid paying for environmental externalities, urban farmers directly bear the ecological costs of their actions. This makes urban farmers better stewards of their land because they draw their nutrition from it. Rather than using chemicals that destroy soil biology, urban farming culture stresses sustainable organic techniques that enrich the topsoil.
By localizing produce, urban farms unplug us from and cut down on the significant amount of fossil fuel consumption necessary to transport, package, and sell food. The average meal has traveled 4,200 miles just to get to your table. Urban agriculture helps consumers reduce their “foodprint” by providing them the opportunity to purchase food that was grown within their community.
An urban farm can provide you with fresh produce all-year-round.
With traditional farming, each product naturally has its season and that is what is grown and when. But things are different with urban farming, which allows you to harvest a crop and move immediately on to another that will grow nicely in that season. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is the way to go!
Urban farms create jobs and volunteer opportunities.
From window box herb gardens to large community spaces, urban farms create opportunities to involve the community. Urban farms create job and volunteer opportunities in big cities, where poverty and hunger are often persistent issues. An increase in small businesses stimulates local economy and supports the community by creating jobs right where people live.
Urban farms provide an education and appreciation for where food come from.
Urban agriculture addresses another issue inherent throughout our current food culture — a disconnection to where our food comes from. By involving children and adults alike in education around sustainable, local agriculture, farmers increase the health of our future food systems.
They provide an opportunity for community building.
Urban farms create more than healthy, delicious food. Urban agriculture brings people together with a common interest — food. The overall health of a community is benefited by increasing its capacity to create an environment that truly sustains its residents. As urban farming grows, a stronger interdependence within communities is likely to result as local food systems bring more community interaction into people’s daily lives.
Urban farms promote economic growth.
By virtue of their proximity to consumers, urban farms stimulate local economy by circulating income throughout the region. Without a complicated distribution network, farmers are more connected to their market and able to adapt quickly to demand, maximizing profit. In addition, many of these organizations are structured in a way that brings additional benefit to the community and support to low income populations by stabilizing food costs and in many cases, offering discounted or free produce.
The urban farming movement has reinvigorated local commerce. Instead of buying oranges, one might trade a specific crop for those grown in neighbor’s trees.
Urban farms create green space.
Agriculture in cities provides something obvious — more green space. This contributes to the health of city ecosystems in a variety of ways. Greenery adds aesthetic appeal, reduces runoff from precipitation, provides restful spaces for the community, and counters the heat island effect by fixing carbon through photosynthesis.