Categories: Tech Grown, Urban & Green

Urban farming gains popularity, looks to the future

Urban gardening and farming is a very popular trend that has permeated the world’s big cities in recent years. While there have always been flower gardens in these city settings, the trend has taken off as more people look for trendy new ways to stay frugal. Whether you choose to grow your favorite fruits and vegetables, fragrant herbs or beautiful flowers, urban gardening can be your ticket to fresher foods that leave your wallet just a little more full.

A new way to take care of ourselves
According to Smithsonian Magazine, urban farming took off as a response to a number of pressures, including an unstable economy, rising food prices and nationwide initiatives to eat healthier, more sustainable foods. Urban farms have popped up in Portland, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Detroit, Phoenix, Chicago, Kansas City and Austin as advocates continue to showcase the beneficial effects that they can have on communities.

There are more than seven billion people in the world, and according to National Geographic, feeding them requires significant habitat loss, energy use and pollution. One of the best ways to eradicate these problems is to learn to take care of ourselves in a new way and reconnect with the earth in our own communities.

“By growing what we need near where we live, we decrease the ‘food miles’ associated with long-distance transportation,” Brian Howard wrote in a National Geographic article on urban farming. “Garden plots can help people reconnect with the earth, and gain a greater appreciation for where our food comes from.”

The future of urban gardening
Environmental health professionals around the world are trying to stay a step ahead of our needs and search for new ways that we can promote urban gardening in the future. According to Smithsonian Magazine, one of the most noteworthy proposals was made by Dickson Despommier, an environmental health professor at Columbia University. Despommier suggests taking vertical gardens to the next level to grow produce, fish and even poultry in urban buildings that would be as wide as a city block and as tall as 30 stories.

By eliminating soil and growing plants aeroponically and hydroponically (in air and water), humans will be able to reduce the amount of soil and nutrients needed to keep plants healthy and create a closed irrigation system wherein runoff water is recycled and continuously reused. Growing food in these urban communities will also help support local needs and allow the country to save big on transportation costs.