Urban Ag

Concern about our food, the quality, the exploitation of farmers and workers in the production chain and how it affects our health has induced conscious and political consumerism. But making a statement with the wallet supporting sustainable production might only be the first step. Once food conscious is awakened, it is a small step to grow your own food. Probably also fuelled by the recession, the demand for seeds has skyrocketed recently. The Washington Post (19-6) comments that

“After years in the doldrums, the consumer demand for vegetable seeds has abruptly climbed at a rate even industry veterans have never seen.”

Growing your own food is rapidly becoming a trend as part of an urban agriculture movement. There is a continuous emergence of new initiatives. For example, initiatives which somebody called “Gleaning social networks”; groups who harvest from public places and private places. Wild edibles, such as nuts, berries, fallen fruit, mushrooms and herbs are collected, sometimes to be distributed among the poor. In LA, 120.000 pounds of fruit was harvested within the city last year. Recently Amsterdam was mapped for its wild edibles.

Another type of urban agriculture initiative is “peer-to-peer agriculture”, initiatives which are about sharing land, tools and other resources for more efficient use. For example, how to find an allotment if there are waiting lists? Through internet people can search for pieces of land or gardens which might be (partly) used by someone willing to grow food.

With the rise of more and more urban agriculture initiatives and local food production, new farmers are born each day. These examples show that our idea of what a farm is will soon need serious reconsideration.