Urban agriculture and farming on the rise in our cities. The growing trend of community gardens and small-scale farms is becoming more and more popular, especially in areas you wouldn’t typically think of as a farming community.
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How Do Urban Farms Help?
How much do you pay for groceries every month? $400? $600? $800 or more?
Even if you are feeding just two people and you are carefully budgeting every day, it is pretty tough to eat for less than $400 a month and still be nutritious about it.
And if you have kids, your grocery bill could be a whole lot higher than that!
One great way you can cut down on grocery costs is by growing some of your own food. Forget thinking that growing food is only for farmers with a ton of acreage. In fact, farming isn’t just for country folks anymore! Farming is moving into the city with new urban trends.
To illustrate how popular and successful urban farming is, consider that in 2008, Philadelphia’s 226 community and squatter gardens managed to produce an astounding two million-pound yield of mid-summer vegetables and herbs.
The total market value? $4.9 million. Wow!
Community gardens can help feed the hungry, provide low-income communities with better access to fresh food and vegetables, and provide a way for local folks to come together for the common good.
How to Get Involved in the Urban Agriculture Movement
How can you get involved in urban farming and agriculture in your own backyard? Here are a few easy projects and practices that don’t require a lot of space:
Square Foot Gardening
This is a practice where you divide a growing area into small squares where you plant different types of vegetables. It is a fantastic high-yield technique that requires very little room.
If you don’t have horizontal space, that doesn’t mean you don’t have vertical space! You can stack pallets along a wall or even plant crops in a closet shoe hanger (outside of your closet, of course).
Small Backyard Farms
If you have more space to work with than just a deck or a patio, you may be able to raise goats or even chickens! While your animals need enough room to run around, these are small animals, and they hardly need acres to thrive and lead happy healthy lives.
You can construct a small greenhouse in your backyard for around $50 if you use recycled materials and a great design plan. Greenhouses make it possible for you to grow an impressive yield of fruits and vegetables and lengthen your growing season.
Join a Community Garden
If you are a beginner and want some help getting started, one of the best ways to learn while contributing to the city’s food supply is becoming part of a community garden. You can take the techniques you learn home with you and start your own patio or backyard garden.
By growing your own food, you can cut back substantially on your grocery bills throughout the year. You get to enjoy healthier food, and if you are a parent, you know that you are providing your kids with the absolute best.
The US Department of Agriculture provides a resource list for homeowners that want to get involved in urban agriculture. This includes soil recommendations, a business plan for running an urban farm, examples, and success stories for inspiration.
On top of that, backyard farming and gardening provide you with other less tangible yields. There is the joy of knowing you have become more self-reliant and autonomous, and that is something you can share with your family as you all take your urban farming journey together.