Urban farms are springing up in backyards and community centers in cities all across the country. But these vegetable-stocked paradises aren’t just another hipster trend.
Urban farms are revolutionizing and democratizing the way people view food as they improve health, increase family closeness, and promote environmental awareness. There’s no denying that a garden or small farm requires work, and the start-up costs can be higher than the cost of a simple trip to the grocery store.
However, the benefits of urban farming — both to individual families and to entire communities — are undeniable, and local gardens more than compensate their owners for the start-up costs within a few months.
When you grow your own food — or help out a community garden that grows food for the neighborhood — you know exactly what went into it. You know what types of seeds were used and whether there are any potentially toxic pesticides.
You won’t have to spend any time deciphering the meaning of food additives or researching the dangers of chemicals that might be in your food. Instead, you can just eat!
For some people, homegrown fruits and vegetables can dramatically and quickly improve health. Allergy sufferers and people with multiple chemical sensitivities may find that many of their symptoms are alleviated if they simply eat food that has nothing added to it — an option that is typically only available if they grow their own food.
Urban farmers will happily tell just about anyone that homegrown food tastes better. While this may be partially because working for food can make the food seem more special, fresh food may actually taste better.
Try feeding a child who hates broccoli some broccoli he helped to grow, and you may just find that he’s not a broccoli-loather after all.
Greater Food Access
In poorer communities, access to healthy food is a major hurdle. There may not be a grocery store nearby, and even if there is, the produce selection can be sparse and the quality low. A community garden or small backyard farm ensures regular food access, even if there’s not a good grocer or farmer’s market nearby.