Organic gardening isn’t just for country folk. That’s good news, since the latest census (2013) shows that 67.5% of the US population lives in cities on just 3.5% of America’s land area. Those of us who are part of that 67% also want farm fresh produce, free of GMOs, free of pesticides and grown in a sustainable way. You can help produce those heart and earth healthy vegetables by learning about urban gardening.
What is Urban Gardening?
Urban gardening is just what it sounds like: growing stuff (especially food) in the city. Urban gardeners are turning apartment windowsills and balconies into vegetable and herb gardens. They are growing wheat grass in the kitchen, tomatoes on the porch and convincing their landlords to let them start full blown vegetable plots on the roof. Urban gardening advocates in the suburbs are turning lawns into food forests and planting perennial vegetables in parking strips. Their are even those who take to guerrilla style urban gardening by tossing seeds into vacant lots. Those less radically inclined find opportunities to start community gardens at local schools or parks.
Urban Gardening Inspiration
Urban gardening is rapidly transitioning from idea to movement. People across the country are latching on to the idea and making it work in their communities.
Here are 5 inspiring urban gardening success stories:
Rooftop Shelter Garden
A new homeless shelter in Atlanta, GA had a great idea: build an garden on the roof. All of the urban gardening is done by homeless shelter residents, who grow kale, collards, lettuce and other vegetables. The shelter hopes the rooftop gardens will produce enough to provide “something green” on each resident’s plate every day.
Urban Gardening in Parking Strips
You know that little piece of land between the sidewalk and the road? That’s the parking strip. Usually it is planted with grass, which takes lots of water and maintenance. Some people are taking this little piece of “no-man’s land” and turning it into productive garden space. Another good idea for parking strips is to grow native plants that don’t require much care.
Urban Gardening in Prisons
Some prisons have begun to allow inmates to garden. The benefits of urban gardening in a prison go further than just adding fresh produce to the typically bleak menu. It offers inmates an opportunity to connect with the natural world while engaging in meaningful activity making urban gardening one of the few truly “rehabilitative” activities engaged in by prisons.
Dog House Rooftop Gardens
Rooftop urban gardening isn’t just for apartment buildings or garages. You can create a mini rooftop garden right on top of your dog house. The same idea could be applied to a chicken coop, tool shed or wood shed.
Even if you live in a tiny apartment you probably have access to some outdoor space. Container gardening opens up many possibilities for the urban gardener. Just check out this fire escape turned vegetable garden!
Ron Finley is into guerrilla urban gardening in L.A.. Why? Because he hates the fact that “drive-thrus are killing more people than drive-bys”.