Garden and Yard Care

Published on August 24th, 2011 | by belleterre

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Urban Farming – A Variety of Approaches

With the rise in popularity of urban farming, most people now know that space limitations don’t necessarily have to limit what you’re able to grow.  For those who are space limited but want to take the plunge, there are many approaches to urban farming, here are just a few suggestions:

1 – Use What You’ve Got

Growing in a small outdoor space is definitely an option.   The most well-known approach to growing in a limited small space was discussed in detail by Mel Bartholomew in his book Square Foot Gardening.   On the whole, lawns are not a benefit to anyone and can easily be re purposed for growing food and flowers.  Many are taking that approach to heart and some are even fighting for their right to do so.  A shining example is the recent Michigan Controversy involving Julie Bass and her struggle to grow veggies in her family’s front yard.

Urban Farm

Want to grow to the max?  With proper planning, that is still an option in a small space.  Just ask the Dervaes family.  They have just one tenth (1/10) of an acre in Pasadena and managed to grow over 7,000 pounds of food in 2010!  Their “micro-farm” includes goats, chickens, bees, fruits, and veggies galore.

2 – Look Around

Don’t have any land at all?  That’s not necessarily a problem.  With the help of organizations like The Trust for Public Land, there are community gardens popping up in more and more places.  You can visit the American Community Garden Association, type in your zip code and locate the garden closest to you.

Community Garden

If you can’t find anything around you, look up.  Rooftop gardens can be quite beautiful.  How about growing on a school roof?  Or a hotel?  As a shining example,  Cloister Honey in Charlotte, NC keeps bees on top of the Ritz Carlton (those are some seriously fancy bees!).

3 – Grow Indoors

If you can’t find space in your yard or in your community, you can always grown indoors.   Herbs grow happily year-round in windowsills, or if you want to move beyond just herbs you can buy grow lights and install self containing garden systems.  Treehugger recently posted an innovative indoor growing option on their site.

4 – Think Outside the Box

When all else fails, try something no one else has tried before.  That’s what Ian Cheney did.  He was living in a city with nowhere to grow, and was considering selling his 1986 Dodge Pickup.  After some thought, he decided to turn it into a farm instead and his project Truck Farm was born.  He’s attracted quite a following and truck farms are now popping up across the country.

Truck Farm

Do you live in a city and grow your own food?  We’d love to hear your approach.

Images: Flickr CC: Gavin Anderson, Digika, DC Central Kitchen



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About the Author

Julia and her husband own Belle Terre, a natural bath and beauty company. They are working to transition from their traditional home in a small town neighborhood to a truly sustainable lifestyle in which they eat only what they grow, use only the energy they collect, and share their home with the dogs, bees and other animals that will join them.



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