When most people think agriculture, they do not usually think growing crops in buildings, rooftops, and any available land in cities. We usually think rural farms, whether large or small or family owned. Little do people know that they could have their own farm in their communities.
Although it may seem simple to just grow plants where ever, there are some things to consider.
What to Consider
Whenever you are growing produce, you must consider the growing season. You must also consider the soil or if you will buy gardening soil and if you will plant the seeds directly or transfer them afterwards. If you decide to grow the crops directly into the soil, you should test that soil. This is because some urban areas have elevated levels of metals and other contaminants.
Some great produce option to grow in an urban garden or farm includes tomatoes, lettuce, potatoes, carrots, peppers, peas, and onions. Those are just some of the many options in urban agriculture!
Urban farms do not only include rooftops and buildings. There are a few things to consider, what method to utilize is an important aspect. Other than rooftops and buildings, you can utilize vacant lots, indoor areas, balconies, backyards, community areas, and educational institutions. The options are not limited to this list, there are many options to choose and research. Some practices that are common to urban agriculture include hydroponics, aquaculture, aquaponics, vertical farming, raised beds, rooftop farming, and community gardens. These are all options to consider when working towards urban agriculture.
Urbanizing agriculture is a great option, especially with the growing need for more food and the limited amount of land allocated to agriculture. It is also a great way for communities to work together and know where their food comes from. It is also a great tool for education, especially in youth.
We must consider that we cannot go around planting where we wish. When in public areas, we must consider zoning regulations. If this is something you are seriously considering urban farming, you should research your local and state laws and regulations. There are many resources on the USDA website as well. Whether you are considering your backyard or somewhere more public you should look into what your laws and regulations are for your area.
Urban agriculture has many benefits. First and foremost, the community is more aware of where their food came from. It is also a sustainable option, using viable land and space for agriculture, not only is there more food availability there is also a profit for farmers who sell their produce to local farmers markets. There is also opportunity for community development on a large project like a community garden, and opportunity in education for youth, FFA students, and local colleges.
Another incentive is with further research, there are grants available for projects like this. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has many resources on grants for agriculture. In the state of California, an assembly bill was passed to give an incentive to urban farmers, AB 551 allows landowners in urban areas to receive tax incentives for using land for agricultural uses.
Sayner, A. (2020, October 22). Urban Farming Ultimate Guide and Examples. Retrieved from https://grocycle.com/urban-farming/#Examples_of_Urban_Farming
Top 10 Vegetables for the Urban Garden. (2009, August 15). Retrieved from https://www.urbangardensweb.com/2009/08/14/top-10-vegetables-for-the-urban-garden/
University of California, D. O. (2020). Laws, Zoning and Regulations. Retrieved from https://ucanr.edu/sites/UrbanAg/Laws_Zoning_and_Regulations/
University of California, D. O. (2020.). Starting an Urban Farm? Retrieved from https://ucanr.edu/sites/UrbanAg/Starting_an_Urban_Farm/
University of California, D. O. (2020.). The Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act (AB551). Retrieved from https://ucanr.edu/sites/UrbanAg/Laws_Zoning_and_Regulations/The_Urban_Agriculture_Incentive_Zones_Act_AB551/#:~:text=In 2014, California implemented Assembly,create urban agriculture incentive zones.
Urban Gardening Techniques. (2020.). Retrieved from https://www.gardeners.com/how-to/urban-gardening-techniques/9341.html