Believe it or not, urban agriculture has become immensely popular over the last couple years. Community farms, rooftop farms, and school gardens are only three examples of many forms of urban agriculture. The benefit of these urban farms and school gardens is that it brings the community members together and also teaches people what it truly takes to grow food and how much time and effort one must dedicate to it. These urban farms are usually located on plots of unused land and also on rooftops.
Urban farms and school gardens have the ability to promote agricultural education, it benefits the environment, and also helps increase the community’s access to locally sourced fresh produce. Urban farms and school gardens typically occupy unused plots of land where they can either prepare the land to grow plants directly in the ground, or where they can bring in planter beds and greenhouses to grow plants in. Urban farms and school gardens are wonderful opportunities to teach the general public and especially children about the importance of agriculture to our society. They also give people a chance to slow down and connect with nature again amidst a busy city lifestyle where things seem to never stop. According to an article from the New York Post from last September, urban farms are now popping up all over New York City. The author emphasizes that in New York, “urban farms are inviting city dwellers to get back to their roots, literally, this fall, and teach all of us why vibrant green space is so necessary in the growing city” (Donnelly, 2019).
Rooftop farms have also become quite a common form of urban farming. Although rooftop farms are limited in what they can grow due to irrigation complications and the inability to plant crops on actual land, these farms make use of their space by growing leafy greens in what are called Tower Gardens. In addition to making cities greener (quite literally), rooftop gardens are beneficial since they can help reduce carbon emissions and cool down buildings. The Director of Commercial Tower Garden Division explains that, “bare roofs in cities absorb and then radiate heat… [which] increases energy usage and contributes to the poor air quality that often plagues big cities” (Coffman, 2018). Some remarkable rooftop farms that have been very successful across the nation would include Altius Farms in Denver, CO, Bell Book & Candle in Manhattan, NY, and Rouses Supermarket in New Orleans, LA.
In the beginning of the year when the coronavirus pandemic hit hard, many grocery stores experienced disruptions in their food supply distribution chain. As a result, many grocery stores were out of stock in many items. This made many people turn to alternative sources like farmers markets and urban farms for their fresh produce. These local food options gave people a sense of certainty and ensured that there will always be enough fresh produce for everyone when the grocery stores could not guarantee this. Hopefully this is just the beginning of urban agriculture and that there will be more major metropolitan cities across the country that begin to integrate urban farms, school gardens, and rooftop farms into their communities.
Coffman, J. (2018, March 14). Why rooftop farming is the best solution for smart urban agriculture. Agritecture. Retrieved from https://www.agritecture.com/blog/2018/3/14/why-rooftop-farming-is-the-best-solution-for-smart-urban-agriculture
Donnelly, T. (2019, September 6). Urban farms are sprouting up all over NYC. New York Post. Retrieved from https://nypost.com/2019/09/06/urban-farms-are-sprouting-up-all-over-nyc/
2 thoughts on “Benefits of Urban Agriculture in Major Metropolitan Cities”
I really enjoyed reading your blog that was focused on urban agriculture and rooftop gardens. The first thing I would like to point out, is that urban agriculture has become even more popular in the last couple of months due to Covid-19. Due to our current situation regarding the virus, people have been spending more time at home, therefore individuals have found themselves investing more time to pick up new tasks or hobbies such as gardening.
I most definitely agree that gardening in the city, where things never seem to stop moving, gives people time to unwind and further connect with nature. I currently live in an apartment located in the Downtown Los Angeles area. I, like many people, have also found myself with extra time on my hands. During this covid pandemic, I have grown a Yellow Canary Melon plant in a 12 inch pot. Although it is well known that melons need more growing space for root structure, I found myself successful and was able to wreak some fruit. I have to say that nothing tastes better than enjoying fruit that you have grown yourself. What have you decided to grow during this pandemic?
Furthermore, I have also heard that business is currently really great for urban farmers who have transitioned to a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) business plan where they prepare boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables that are ready for pickup or delivery for their customers. I truly believe that this is a huge win for the urban and agriculture community. Additionally, I found this very interesting because business owners have to rethink and adapt to how they approach their current clientele to new tasks and demands during our current covid-19 times. I think that it is extremely convenient and arguably safer for customers to receive their food supply through the urban agriculture prepared system because anyone can receive or pick up food in a farmers market in order to avoid the large clusters of people at a larger supermarket store. In addition, with a prepared food system, there would be less people who would directly be touching the food because through urban agriculture, individuals would be receiving their produce directly from the farmer.
Unfortunately, regarding gardens located inside schools, the situation is not looking so great due to school closures. Many of the pre-existing gardens have been forgotten and deserted because they were mainly maintained and up-kept by students and school staff, who are obviously not spending the majority of their time at the schools. This situation is so unfortunate because these gardens are the only space that the children use to learn about and enjoy healthy and nutritious food.
Finally, I would like to add that rooftop gardens are extremely beneficial in areas that experience many rains and poor sewage structures. This is because rooftop gardens are able to efficiently harvest rain rainwater and reduce stormwater runoff. By adding more green roofs in the cities, it can provide a solution for flooding in the city.
I was wondering just how much traffic Farmers markets were gaining and it must’ve been quiet a bit of a jump. Considering the CDC advised that farmers markets are essential services it must have motivated quite a few worried people not wanting to risk their life in a super packed super store. According to the CDC, “Across the United States, farmers markets have been named an essential service because of their role in supporting local farms and providing communities access to fresh, healthy food during the pandemic. Outdoor farmers markets provide a lower risk shopping option with immediate and lasting benefits for shoppers and the community at-large”. This may not have been impactful to a person not in agriculture but for us this is I believe is a big indicator of how impactful it can be if urban agriculture became more solid and popular among the general public. If an open air market during a pandemic can help save people, maybe during natural disasters these small farms can help be preserved to continue to help the people have a resource for food during extremely troubling times for the general public.