Solutions Series: Urban Farming and Gardening
Wouldn’t it be great to have a constant supply of fresh herbs and vegetables in your backyard? Urban farms can beautify your living space and create a healthier living from the fresh produce and the work required for a bountiful harvest. In a time where many Californians don’t know where their food was grown, or even that their food probably has traveled thousands of miles to get to their table, it is crucial to reconnect people to the land. This will reduce our carbon footprints, promote healthier diets and enhance local community and economy development.
Don’t have the time or the space to garden? There are endless possibilities to grow an abundance of produce to promote a healthier living. And here they are:
1) Container Gardening: This is great for apartments who only have balcony space. You’ll benefit from lots of healthy herbs as they are easy to grow and maintain!
2) Volunteer at a community garden near you where you can have a plot of land to garden. Or volunteer at a place like City Slicker Farms where the harvest is sold at affordable prices to low-income neighborhoods. Or join (or initiate!) a neighborhood work party where you can have friends and family come over to help build/maintain your garden. Then you can all enjoy a potluck at the end of the work party.
3) Order a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Box, which is a weekly box of fresh vegetables and fruit that a local farm will deliver to your neighborhood.
Or perhaps you want to create or expand your own garden. Permaculture, a way of designing an agricultural space that factors in the health and wealth of people, the land and community, follows various traditional ways of farming around the globe. Much literature can be found online regarding such garden designs. If you have a bountiful garden, you could participate in your local crop swap or even sell your produce. In October 2011, the Oakland City Council approved the selling of produce cultivated from small-scaled, individual urban farms in October 2011. So now for around $70 you can have a home-occupation and business permit. If you want to expand your urban garden into a farm to include animals, check out what it would be like to raise chickens (check out our chicken co-op resource page!), rabbits, quails, etc.