Urban Vegetable Farming: A Healthy Environment Leads to Healthy People
Every day there are people heading to the local farmers market to get the freshest vegetables for their snacks and meals. For these people eating food that has not been frozen or processed is important. However, for the rest of us, obtaining this level of fresh food is far too expensive and often located in areas that are difficult to reach within a reasonable amount of time. Also, having the land and time to cultivate a huge farm would be tremendously burdensome for people who work long hours. Finding the right solution that allows everyone to have access to fresh food is challenging task.
Obtaining fresh food locally is also very important for the environment. The amount of energy that is consumed transporting and refrigerating fresh food can be significantly reduced if most people had local access to these items. A reduction of energy usage will reduce the carbon foot print that is associated with global warming. The low transportation costs translate into people eating better for less money. Moving from our current situation, where few urban gardens exist, to our future situation, where everyone has urban garden access, is a daunting undertaking.
To take this concept a step further we need to encourage people and businesses to begin using their roof top space for gardening. Organizations such as UrbanHarvest STL are already going in the direction of bringing urban garden access to their communities. This farming activity not only improves the health of the community but brings the community around a common cause. There is a vast amount of root top space, especially in commercial business centers, that could be used to make a number of easy to grow vegetables and herbs.
To reach this goal you would have to make the idea of placing a garden on the roof of a building compelling. For starters, negotiating a deal with the property owner where they either receive a portion of the crop or they are compensated monetarily. Then, insure that the farming operations do not inhibit the property owner’s ability to conduct business. Finally, allow for the cross marketing of products where applicable so that both businesses benefit from the relationship in a complementary fashion. Successful implementation of this strategy will allow for the expansion of operations to other locations throughout the urban area.