Start Your Own Green Acres
Spring brings to mind growth and renewal, as well as the seasonal varietals of fruits and vegetables soon to be available at the market. For most of us, that is. In many cities, inadequate, unreliable and irregular access to food is a recurring problem. Urban agriculture has been a positive response to addressing those concerns. Households and small communities take advantage of vacant land and contribute not only to their household food needs but also the needs of their resident city.
Supplemental food production beyond rural farming operations is not a new concept. As early as 1893, Detroiters struck by the Depression were asked to use any vacant lots to grow vegetables. Nicknamed “Pingree’s Potato Patches,” then-mayor Hazen S. Pingree intended these gardens to provide income and food supply for the poor in times of hardship.
Generally practiced for income earning or food production, other communities find recreation and relaxation to be the primary motivation for urban farming. Social benefits have emerged as well: better health and nutrition, employment and food security.
If you’ve got the space, growing your own can save your household food dollars for other non-garden items. No green thumb? Explore your local farmers’ market for fresh, flavorful produce. You’ll boost the local economy and do your body a favor at the same time.