Urban Farming: The Revolution

Give Peach a Chance Tree in bloom

Urban farming for us has been a work in progress.  We have this relatively huge piece of land (2/3 acre), in a city of over 100,000 people, that we have been working on transforming into a “farm” for raising food for ourselves, our children and grandchildren, and any friends and community members that would like to have organically grown food.  Tom and I have been raising food for ourselves for a number of years, but we decided several years ago to start expanding since this size property really needs to be used more wisely for food production.  To date we have a large vegetable garden, an orchard, a beehive, a solar oven and will soon have chickens for eggs.  We are planning to transform most of our property into edible landscaping. We have embarked on a journey that we hope will reap great benefits for the rest of our lives.

And we have recently discovered that we are part of a Revolution.

Urban farming appears to be an emerging trend nationwide, as we have been discovering in our pursuit to move towards self-sufficiency.

I recently stumbled upon an article entitled Garden as if Your Life Depended On It, Because It Will, by Ellen LaConte.  In the article LaConte paints the picture for readers of the dire straights of an increasing number of Americans, especially as the cost of food increases :

….which is particularly devastating just now when so many Americans are unemployed, underemployed, retired or retiring, on declining or fixed incomes and are having to choose between paying their mortgages, credit card bills, car payments, and medical and utility bills and eating enough and healthily. Many are eating more fast food, prepared foods, junk food–all of which are also becoming more expensive–or less food.   In some American towns, and not just impoverished backwaters, as many as 30 percent of residents can’t afford to feed themselves and their families sufficiently, let alone nutritiously.

Solar Oven cooking dinner, August 2010

Tom & Dee s first Beehive

LaConte lists five reasons why more people should be taking on gardening for their food supply (read the article for full explanation of each point):

Peak Oil, Peak Soil and Space, Monoculture,  Climate Instability, The roller-coaster economy.

LaConte describes the predicted increase in difficulty for many more Americans in the years to come.  More and more people are turning to gardening, not as a hobby, but as a matter of survival.

Then I found Urban Farming Guys, an amazing project where 20 families uprooted themselves from suburbia and planted themselves in the middle of one of the worst neighborhoods in Kansas City in an experimental effort to transform the area into a sustainable community.

Food hitting our plates with who knows what pumped into it and growing economic uncertainty. We took the seeds in our pockets and every square foot we owned and went about like mad scientists testing out innovative ideas from all around world and making them work in one of the most blighted neighborhoods in the US. Everything from urban fish farming to alternate energy. Now let’s pass it on… to our neighborhoods and the nations.

"The Hen Shack"~Tom & Dee s first chicken coop (in progress)

Then there is the Dervaes family in Pasadena, California who has named the family run organization “Path to Freedom”  with the website Urban Homestead:  Pioneering a journey towards self-sufficiency, one step at a time.

Surrounded by urban sprawl and just a short distance from a freeway, the Dervaes Family has steadily worked at transforming this ordinary city lot into an organic and sustainable micro-farm since 1983.

Asian Pears, July 2010 Peace Orchard

This family has, over the years, amazingly transformed a relatively small parcel into a self-sustaining food production operation for sustenance for an entire year. The website is full of information all based on the experiences of urban farming – a great resource for those desiring to do the same.

The more I read and investigate to educate myself on urban farming, the more I find that people all over are turning to this model of food production.  It’s refreshing, rejuvenating, exciting.   It’s a Revolution. I am proud to say I am embracing the Revolution with all my heart and soul and the journey, so far, is proving to enrich our lives and the lives of our descendants.

See posts on Tom and Dee’s Urban Farming Adventures at Tom and Dee’s Excellent Adventures.

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