5 Reasons to Get Involved in Urban Farming

Urban Farming

In cities from New York to Tokyo, urban produce farmers are proving that you don’t need a lot of land to be a successful gardener. City dwellers are growing all kinds of edible crops in planter boxes right on the rooftops of their buildings, while others are getting involved in neighborhood community gardens. Though trendy, urban agriculture has staying power due to its many benefits for gardeners. Here are just a few.

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1 – Reconnect with nature.

If you go for weeks seeing too much asphalt, traffic, and the interior of a cubicle, then urban farming is a convenient way to enjoy a green oasis away from the city’s hustle and bustle. Additionally, as most of us are accustomed to buying produce from the store without really thinking about where or how it was grown, urban farming can develop a deeper appreciation for the process of making food.

2 – Be a good neighbor.

The American Community Gardening Association says that community gardening “improves people’s quality of life by providing a catalyst for neighborhood and community development” and by “stimulating social interaction.” A recreational activity where you meet new people while producing the food on your plate? Sign me up!

3 – Go “localvore.”

You can’t get produce more local or in season than by growing your own. Eating locally grown food uses fewer resources and involves less processing and preservative use. And the food is often tastier because it’s so fresh. On average, food travels 1,500 miles before landing on your grocery store’s shelf. Not only does all this transportation result in increased use of fossil fuels, it increases the cost of food by 6 to 12 percent. Who doesn’t want fresher food for less money?

4 – Get moving.

All of our sitting in cars and at desks means that we don’t get nearly enough exercise. And not everyone finds going to the gym or jogging much fun. Urban gardening is the type of exercise you don’t even realize you’re doing, because you’re so focused on the task at hand and the results can be so satisfying. Aside from the physical exercise, you can flex your mental muscles thanks to the therapeutic and meditative nature of gardening.

5 – Never stop learning.

Speaking of mental benefits, getting involved in urban farming can be an incredibly enriching educational experience. Along with learning how to grow your own food in an unlikely environment, you’ll learn about things like sustainability, nutrition, and even how to create delicious meals out of what you grow.

If you need a boost to get started, check out the Nourishmat. At only four by six inches, it’s perfect for small spaces. There are precut holes, perfectly spaced apart for several types of edible plants, and it has built-in irrigation so you can’t over- or under-water. From recreation to socializing to education, urban gardening is full of wonderful benefits for green-deprived city folk. Search Google for a program in your area and let us know how it goes!

Written by Lorelei Plotczyk
Lorelei is a regular contributor to the Ashford University blog.

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