The majority of Americans (80.7%) live in non-rural areas. This means many people are unable to grow their own food. People may think that it would be impossible to grow any food for themselves in urban settings. This, however, is quite false. Urban farming is on the rise in cities around the United States. To understand urban farming, it is important to understand what that term means. Urban farming, or urban agriculture, 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.
Urban farming can come in many different shapes and sizes. It would not be possible for a person living in a high rise apartment to have a flower bed, but a person living in a more suburban area could have a backyard with a small vegetable garden. The main important thing about urban farming is using the area you have to spare. Here are just a few examples.
In this picture, you can see that a small backyard area can grow a good amount of plants. In this image, a raised flowerbed has been constructed. This allows the plants to grow in their own area with good soil. The plants cannot get too out of hand in this case because they have a border that will somewhat cut them off from the rest of the yard. It is important to note that plants can still outgrow their flowerbed here because their roots may grow under the borders.
In this second image, a few herbs are being grown in a college dorm. In a college dorm, space is limited. This means every square inch is precious. Even in such a tight space, it is still possible to have plants growing and thriving.
Since it is possible to grow vegetables and other plants in small settings, the question then becomes, “why should I urban farm?” This is a relatively easy question to answer when looking at a few factors. One big reason is that is allows people from all different walks of life to have easy and affordable access to fresh, healthy produce. Since a large number of Americans live in food deserts, it is important for people to know that they can grow their own food. This could save people money, allow them access to healthy food, and give more people an appreciation for the food they eat on a daily basis. All of these benefit individuals as well as communities.
While it is possible for a person or family to grow their own food, some communities are trying to assist in the process of urban farming. If you would like more information on urban areas engaging in urban farming, check out GrowingPower.org