G.I.Y. – GROW IT YOURSELF: URBAN GARDENS COMBAT RISING FOOD PRICES

(In an age where it seems the price of oil fluctuates so much that the price of everything else has risen and will stay high, almost as if industry does so as a preemptive strike of sorts.  Why would anyone lower their prices when they have sustained a period in which the public have bowed to their price hike?  This is what has happened to the price of food.  It costs more to move it around, therefore it costs the consumer more to have it.  Even the discount places like Walmart and Giant Tiger have raised their prices to a level that just seems impossible to sustain.  More and more, folks are starting to try to grow their own vegetables to try and combat this destructive trend.  When you live in a major city, one of the ways to grow this produce is by having a plot at a community or urban garden.  I love this concept, as it shows the community working together to try and right a wrong.  Fuck big business, and fuck them for trying to starve us.  Here’s a little bit of info about urban gardening we found on the interweb for you.  Get out their and grow it yourself. – FATS)

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. These activities occur in peri-urban areas as well.

community-garden_420-420x0Urban agriculture can reflect varying levels of economic and social development. In the global north, it often takes the form of a social movement for sustainable communities, where organic growers, ‘foodies,’ and ‘locavores’ form social networks founded on a shared ethos of nature and community holism. These networks can evolve when receiving formal institutional support, becoming integrated into local town planning as a ‘transition town’ movement for sustainable urban development. In the developing south, food security, nutrition, and income generation are key motivations for the practice. In either case, more direct access to fresh vegetables, fruits, and meat products through urban agriculture can improve food security and food safety.

Community wastes were used in ancient Egypt to feed urban farming. In Machu Picchu, water was conserved and reused as part of the stepped architecture of the city, and vegetable beds were designed to gather sun in order to prolong the growing season. Allotment gardens came up in Germany in the early 19th century as a response to poverty and food insecurity. Victory gardens sprouted during WWI and WWII and were fruit, vegetable, and herb gardens in US, Canada, and UK. This effort was undertaken by citizens to reduce pressure on food production that was to support the war effort. Community gardening in most communities are open to the public and provide space for citizens to cultivate plants for food or recreation. A community gardening program that is well-established is Seattle’s P-Patch. The grass roots permaculture movement has been hugely influential in the renaissance of urban agriculture throughout the world.

1280px-HuertoRomita03The idea of supplemental food production beyond rural farming operations and distant imports is not new and has been used during war times and the Great Depression when food shortage issues arose. As early as 1893, citizens of a depression-struck Detroit were asked to use any vacant lots to grow vegetables. They were nicknamed Pingree’s Potato Patches after the mayor, Hazen S. Pingree, who came up with the idea. He intended for these gardens to produce income, food supply, and even boost independence during times of hardship.

During the first World War, president Woodrow Wilson called upon all American citizens to utilize any available open space for food growth, seeing this as a way to pull them out of a potentially damaging situation. Because most of Europe was consumed with war, they were unable to produce sufficient food supplies to be shipped to the U.S., and a new plan was implemented with the intent to feed the U.S. and even supply a surplus to other countries in need. By the year 1919, over 5 million plots were growing food and over 500 million pounds of produce was harvested. A very similar practice came into use during the Great Depression that provided a purpose, a job, and food to those who would otherwise be without anything during such harsh times. In this case, these efforts helped to raise spirits socially as well as to boost economic growth. Over 2.8 million dollars worth of food was produced from the subsistence gardens during the Depression. By the time of the Second World War, the War/Food Administration set up a National Victory Garden Program that set out to systematically establish functioning agriculture within cities. With this new plan in action, as many as 5.5 million Americans took part in the victory garden movement and over 9 million pounds of fruit and vegetables were grown a year, accounting for 44% of U.S.-grown produce throughout that time.

Brooklyn-Grange-rooftop-farm-New-York-City-1In 2010, New York City saw the building and opening of the world’s largest privately owned and operated rooftop farm, followed by an even larger location in 2012. Both were a result of municipal programs such as The Green Roof Tax Abatement Program. and Green Infrastructure Grant Program

With its past success in mind and with modern technology, urban agriculture today can be something to help both developed and developing nations.