Be A Part of the ‘Re-Generation’ – Inspiring Examples of Urban Agriculture Today

Example isn’t another way to teach, it IS the way to teach.”

~Albert Einstein~

Urban agriculture, urban farming or urban gardening, according to Wikipedia, is the practice of cultivating, processing, and distributing food in or around a village, town, or city. Urban agriculture can also involve animal husbandry, aquaculture, agroforestry, urban beekeeping, and horticulture.

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Urban agriculture, where food is produced and consumed locally, with minimal to no input (pesticides, herbicides) is the way of the future. Here’s why: food security, food safety as well as ecological and human health depend upon it.

True revolution – that is change in the current food system – will occur on the plate.

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Each time we buy food, we vote. Voting is not just an every-4-years-phenomenon. It is a daily reality. We vote to either keep the current and unsustainable status quo or we vote for change in the food system by purchasing local or growing our own.

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Here are some amazing examples of people banding together and voting (with money, attitude, and action) for change. What affects one, affects everyone.

Inspiration for the Gardener’s Soul

Use the Soil

There are many reasons to grow your own; climate change is one of those reasons. There are 880 gigatons of carbon floating in the atmosphere right now throwing the earth out of balance. One of the ways that we can bring this basic building block of life back into balance on our planet is to grow. Simply put, the plants we grow take carbon out of the atmosphere (using photosynthesis), turn it into sugars and starches and put it back into the soil.

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December 5th was “World Soil Day“. Watch ‘The Soil Story’ below – take 4 minutes to watch, learn and share what you can personally do to be an active part of the climate change solution and a part of ‘regenerative agriculture’.

“On World Soil Day, I call for greater attention to the pressing issues affecting soils, including climate change, antimicrobial resistance, soil-borne diseases, contamination, nutrition and human health.” — UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon

 

Get Growing

It is exciting to read about the various community organized food growing projects and food growing initiatives that are happening around the world today. These are the people who are part of the climate change solution. They are paving the way for a vibrant ecological future now.

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The purpose of these projects is to get fresh and organic produce to as many people as possible.

The amazing thing is that they center around and involve entire communities of people. Together they are setting the example: the positive actions of a few are benefiting larger communities and addressing significant needs.

Here are just a few examples of what collectively conscious communities can do:

1. Food Is Free Project

This project started with one front yard garden. Now, over 300 cities around the world have started a Food Is Free Movement.  The idea to grow gardens and community began to spread after three months and hasn’t stopped. Check out these Food Is Free Websites:

Start Your Own Food Is Free Project with this Guide.

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2. The Female Farmer Project

Audra Mulkern is a cook, writer and photographer. She writes about and photographs “The Female Farmer Project”   – a chronicle of in-depth stories about the rise of women working in agriculture around the world.  Check out her “Visual Story Telling from the Farm” project. Inspiration abounds here.

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3. Green Lawns to Urban Farms in Florida 

Chris Castro is the founder of Fleet Farming. He believes in growing food not lawns. Chris, along with a group of volunteers, are on a mission to turn Florida’s perfectly green laws into urban farms. Check out his amazing website and his visionary mission statement.

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4. An Urban Food Street in Australia

What started out as planting and growing lime trees due to the high cost of limes in 2009, has now become an 11 street urban agriculture project. This ‘Urban Food Street‘ produced 900 kilograms of bananas and 300 cabbages in 2015. Although not everyone grows food on their lawns in this neighborhood, everyone contributes assets and/or skills for the greater good of the community.

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5. ‘Agrihood’ in Detroit

If you need an alternative neighbourhood growth model, here is one for you. The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative (MUFI) has created a two-acre garden with trees and a ‘sensory garden’ for kids. MUFI, a non profit organization, hopes to tackle issues such as ‘nutritional illiteracy’ and ‘food insecurity’ in Detroit.

 

6. A Planned, EcoFriendly Neighborhood with integrated Agriculture

This Davis, California neighborhood is located close to downtown making walking and biking easy. It features solar powered homes equipped with led lighting, tankless water heaters and other energy saving features. It also has a 7.4 acre organic working farm that grows and sells organic food to its residents.

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7. Re purposing with Real Impact

What can be done with abandoned schools or other such buildings? Caroline Hadilaksono designed an all-in-one urban food center. She dreamed up a space where the local community can come together to grow, harvest, prepare, sell and eat food, all in an abandoned school building. Her idea centers around the notion of community building and won the GOOD Competition which called for ideas on how to re purpose old, abandoned school buildings across the US. This is something all communities could get behind.

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Call to Action

Dear Reader, write to me. Share your urban gardening stories and innovative food security solutions – I would love to compile and feature all such stories here with all credit given.

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Featured photograph and vegetable harvest photograph by Jane Grueber

Other photographs courtesy of pexels.com

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