What is urban agriculture?
Urban agriculture is the practice of growing fruits, vegetables and flowers in a town or city on small plots of land that are not farm-owned. This can include turning vacant lots into plots for growing, vertical farming, cultivating rooftop gardens and constructing greenhouses in urban areas.
Urban agriculture has been around since ancient Egyptian times, and became a widespread practice in the United States throughout World Wars I and II and through the advent of Victory Gardens. Americans were encouraged to grow their own food to reduce the pressure on farmers, who were trying to grow enough to support both the war effort and local communities. Today, about 15% of the world’s food is grown in urban areas, and that number is continually increasing.
Why is it important?
Urban agriculture can provide locally grown, sustainable food to communities where those products are often scarce. Residents of urban areas, especially those with limited incomes, can gain easier access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Last summer, Rimol Greenhouse Systems constructed a greenhouse for ReVision Urban Farms in Boston, which has been utilized to provide struggling local families with free, healthy food.
Urban farming offers an excellent source of community involvement. The responsibility for cultivating and maintaining these urban farms is often shared between neighbors, co-workers, or members of a certain local organization. By involving many members of the community in the growing process, neighbors can get to know one another through a shared interest. Youth are offered a positive source of involvement and social interaction, which may even lead to a future career in agriculture.
How can I get involved?
Starting your own backyard plot or getting involved in a community garden is a great way to get involved in urban gardening on a small scale. Abandoned lots and larger land areas owned by the city may have restrictions on what they can be used for, so it’s best to check with your local town officials before planting anything. There are also many groups in major cities offering training for beginning urban farmers. Check here for a list of organizations and informational resources supporting urban agriculture.
If you’re interested in working with us to construct of a greenhouse in your city, we’d love to hear from you. Give us a call or email and share your ideas with us!
To read more about our project with ReVision Urban Farms: