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/