If you want to grow enough food for yourself and your family – enough that can sustain you in hard times – you’d need several acres of prime farmland, right?
In a word, no. All you need is some guidance on what to grow and how to grow it, as well as a few trips to the local home improvement store. Oh, and some friends who share your vision.
The community garden concept: An increasingly popular option in the urban/suburban environment is the concept of a “community garden.” As Natural News has reported in the past, this concept has been adopted by organic- and fresh-produce-minded people in cities large and small, and the movement is definitely “growing,” if you’ll pardon the pun.
One organization, in fact, is dedicated to the spread of a version of community gardening known as “urban farming” (which just happens to also be the name of the organization). The group began in 2005 with just “three gardens and a pamphlet.” Today, its website boasts over 62,300 “residential, community and partner gardens that are part of ‘The Urban Farming Global Food Chain(R).'”
The concept is simple: Find an empty lot and get together with your neighbors to plant, cultivate and harvest a range of crops. Everybody shares in the labor and everybody shares in the harvest.
Now, for individual efforts:
Bucket veggies: You’d be surprised what you can grow in a five-gallon bucket you pick up from Lowe’s or Home Depot.
“Even if you don’t have much sunny ground, you can still experience the pleasure of harvesting your own vine-ripened tomatoes and other crops. All you need is a generous-size container, good potting soil, and a suitable spot – a patio, deck, or corner that gets at least six hours of full sun a day,” Sunset magazine notes.
Sprouting: Growing your own sprouts is a great way to augment your other crops. As noted by Jules Clancy, creator of The Stone Soup food website, “sprouting turns legumes and grains into living plants with more vitamins, such as vitamin C, B and carotene. It also helps the absorption of minerals.”
Rooftop raised gardens: Don’t live in a house with a deck? With a little help from neighbors and permission from the landlord, you could build some raised gardens on the roof of your apartment building (provided you have easy-enough access to the roof). Your crops will get plenty of sun, though you will likely have to irrigate them at some point (which is true of anything you’re trying to grow).
Window boxes: Though limited in what you can grow in them, window boxes are another way you can grow fresh. Herbs and sprouts do well in window boxes.
Orchards in the middle of town? Depending on the climate where you live, it may be possible to actually plant a small orchard – and communities all over the country are doing just that.
As reported by Britain’s The Guardian newspaper, one such orchard – and urban farm – exists in Detroit, of all places, thanks to the enterprising nature of 38-year-old Mark Covington.
“The result is a transformation of the area around his childhood home. Local kids come to movie nights held amid the crops. Residents love the free, fresh food in an area where no major supermarkets exist. The Georgia Street Community Garden is never vandalized,” the paper reported.
With a little ingenuity and help from your neighbors, there is no reason for you (or them) to go hungry. You can plant and grow everything from tomatoes to potatoes to corn to fruits of all kinds on small lots in cities and suburban communities, in buckets and other containers placed on your deck or porch, from raised beds on apartment rooftops, in window boxes outside your door and in any other place where you can put topsoil and seeds.
J. D. Heyes
Sources for this article include: