intro to urban farming.
So you might be wondering, "What is this 'Urban Farming' craze? Why is it becoming so popular?" Well here's the truth on the matter - on average, food travels about 1,500 miles from producer to consumer. To put that in perspective, that's about half way across North America. This has serious ramifications regarding our carbon footprint and on climate change. In addition, many forests are chopped down for cattle grazing, or for the use of growing mono-crops that deplete the soil. Forests, especially old-growth forests, are carbon sinks. They sequester carbon in their makeup, literally pulling CO2 from the air, which in turn mitigates the CO2 that we produce. Also, since food travels so far, it must be harvested before it's ripened so that it wont spoil during it's transportation.
What's the big deal? The problem is that harvesting food before optimum ripeness actually affects the nutritional value. Throughout it's maturation, plants store various antioxidants, vitamins and minerals differently. Harvesting early prevents the plant from bio-accumulating vital nutrients. It is actually for this reason that some nutrition professionals would argue that frozen produce isn't too terrible in that regard. Produce that is intended to be frozen is usually harvested closer to the optimal harvesting time, allowing the plant time to store nutrients. However, processing does change other aspects of the food, like denaturing proteins for example. As you can see, our food system is incredibly complex. So not only have I pointed out some very general aspects of the unsustainability, and nutritional values in our food system, but the average farmer in the U.S is between the ages of 50 and 60. Small-scale farms have a difficult time staying in business, and the ones who are, are near retirement. We need to find a way to be more self-sustaining. This is where Urban Farming comes in.
Urban farming is the practice of agriculture within the city. What does it look like? It could look like a simple garden, aquaponics, hydroponics, or raising chickens. It is an outlet that allows you to grow the food that you and your family love. Have excess? Sell it at a local market, or to gift it neighbors. As you can see this is a huge plus for the local economy and building a close-knit community. The thing that is so beautiful about urban farming, is it exists within the city (obvious, I know). But what else exists within cities? Food deserts.
A food desert is an area that does not have sufficient access to a grocery store. It is in these areas that many impoverished people tend to live. Then what? You're an impoverished individual, do not have a car, and the closest store is a mini-mart that sells white bread, chips, and candy. Essentially you are consuming low-nutrient-dense foods, and are ultimately not receiving proper nourishment. Chances are you'll develop a vitamin deficiency, gain weight, develop diabetes, and the list goes on. On top of it, you can't afford decent health care, and the vicious cycle continues. This is the trend we see with people living in poverty. Now, teach impoverished people how to grow food. A seed is about a dime a piece, give or take. They can help off-set their food struggle by growing their own food for next to nothing.
If you don't think you have the means, I promise you, it IS possible. Say you live in a small space, and tilling up the property is not feasible. There is the option to build raised beds. You don't have to ruin your beautiful lawn to have fresh produce! Maybe you live in an apartment. Things like spinach, lettuce and arugula do not need full sun to grow. Plop a long planter near a window, or onyour balcony and let nature do the work.
Do not be intimidated by the word "farming". There are options available for everyone. And we really can't afford not to take advantage of this.
That's what Roots Revival is all about. It's about reviving the ability to grow food, because we all rely on it.