The Social and Nutrition Advantages of Urban Farming

The Social and Nutrition Advantages of Urban Farming

The "Big City" allure that the lured the farmer's children off the farm is definitely changing. One only has to look at Detroit and other similar rust belt cites with their abandoned homes and overgrown lots to know the future will be different. With middle and low income wages stagnating or even declining, the 99%ers are calling attention to the income disparity that has overtaken America. They understand that the ticket to the "American Dream" that was punched by hard work and willingness to follow the rules has been reduced to confetti for many.

While the system sorts things out, it is now necessary, more than ever, for individuals, families, and small community-based groups to help themselves. One of these sure-fired methods is the backyard garden. Also gaining popularity is the community garden. For many, gone are the days of a trip to Grandmother's farm for a visit where upon leaving she loaded you up with fresh fruits and veggies, but some are beginning to reproduce the "rural setting" in the urban setting.

History Of Urban Farming

While urban farming is not a new concept, it is making a modern comeback. In 1893, Detroit mayor Haze S. Pingree asked his constituents to use any available space to plant gardens. The goal was income production as well as providing food and independence for Detroit citizens during that decade's depression. Then in WWI, President Wilson expanded that vision to include all of the USA and by 1919, 500 million pounds of produce were harvested from over 5 millions garden plots. During the Great Depression, subsistence gardens produced over 2.8 million dollars worth of food. World War II revived the concept under the name Victory Gardens and 5.5 million Americans participated and grew over 9 million pounds of fruits and vegetables in one year which actually amounted to 44% of all produce grown in the US at that time.

This is a concept that has proved itself time and time again, and it seems that we are entering another phase where urban farming will be not only beneficial, but perhaps necessary as many find themselves either out of work, or working at jobs that are paying much less than previously.

Social Benefits Of Urban Farming

The benefits of urban farming well surpass the nutrition aspect, though of course that is a major part of it. Urban garden plots can also provide increased income, employment, food for the household, decreased grocery expenditures, and also a "common ground" for neighbors. It also puts to use vacant plots of land that have been useless for years and now regain productive use.

Community gardens have existed in many cities for years and apart from bringing people together can also reduce the investment aspect of gardening as tools can be purchased for the group and shared. Also, each person can focus on one or two specialties allowing them not only to exchange with their neighbors, but to sell their surplus. Not only that, but it can provide constructive and fulfilling activity for children, teens, and the elderly as well.

One section of the population that has been practicing "urban" farming for years is the prison population. Many prisons have their own gardens where they grow vegetables for their own kitchens. This is a way of not only cutting down costs but also giving work for "idle hands". There are many benefits to working with one's hands in the soil as it is a very calming, nurturing, and healing activity

 Get The Latest From InnerSelf

Urban Farming in the Heart of Atlanta

It’s an oasis in the concrete and congestion of city life. Just around the corner of the historic Wheat Street Baptist Church, a community garden is springing to life..

 How to Create a Beautiful Edible Landscape

Terry's Square Foot Organic Vegetable Garden

Obsessives: Urban Farming

Novella Carpenter started small, with some plants in an empty lot next to her house in Oakland. A couple of years later, she was tending to a full-blown farm, with goats, turkeys, ducks, pigs, and a robust garden. This video tackles questions of neighborliness (which is more offensive: police sirens or roosters crowing?), environmental poisons (raised beds are key), and the all-important slaughter question. The answer: Yes, she does (and yes, there is some bloody footage).

Other Sources Of Information

Recommended Books:

 Urban FarmingUrban Farming: Sustainable City Living in Your Backyard, in Your Community, and in the World by Thomas J. Fox.

Urban Farming will introduce readers to the concepts of gardening and farming from a high-rise apartment, participating in a community garden, vertical farming, and converting terraces and other small city spaces into fruitful, vegetableful real estate.
Click Here For More Info and/or Order On Amazon

The Urban Homestead

The Urban Homestead (Expanded & Revised Edition): Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen.

Step-by-step projects, tips, and anecdotes will help get you started homesteading immediately.
Click Here For More Info and/or Order On Amazon

The Quarter-Acre Farm: How I Kept the Patio, Lost the Lawn, and Fed My Family for a Year by Spring by Warren and Jesse Pruet.

When Spring Warren told her husband and two teenage boys that she wanted to grow 75 percent of all the food they consumed for one year — and that she wanted to do it in their yard — they told her she was crazy. She did it anyway.
Click Here For More Info and/or Order On Amazon

About The Author

bobby jennings is co-publisher of InnerSelf Publications and webmaster of & Originally a Democrat for many years, he moved to the Republican party in the mid 1980's and the Green Party in 2000. He now supports common sense initiatives from all parties and votes independently in the general elections. He supports small efficient honest government, government managed capitalism, an independent judiciary, religious tolerance, as well as social and economic justice. He is an ex-Army officer and retired small business owner. He best describes himself as a now extinct "Eisenhower Republican".


follow InnerSelf on


 Get The Latest By Email



The Day Of Reckoning Has Come For The GOP
by Robert Jennings,
The Republican party is no longer a pro-America political party. It is an illegitimate pseudo-political party full of radicals and reactionaries whose stated goal is to disrupt, destabilize, and…
Why Donald Trump Could Be History's Biggest Loser
by Robert Jennings,
Updated July 2, 20020 - This whole coronavirus pandemic is costing a fortune, maybe 2 or 3 or 4 fortunes, all of unknown size. Oh yeah, and, hundreds of thousands, maybe a million, of people will die…
Blue-Eyes vs Brown Eyes: How Racism is Taught
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf
In this 1992 Oprah Show episode, award-winning anti-racism activist and educator Jane Elliott taught the audience a tough lesson about racism by demonstrating just how easy it is to learn prejudice.
A Change Is Gonna Come...
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf
(May 30, 2020) As I watch the news on the events in Philadephia and other cities in the country, my heart aches for what is transpiring. I know that this is part of the greater change that is taking…
A Song Can Uplift the Heart and Soul
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf
I have several ways that I use to clear the darkness from my mind when I find it has crept in. One is gardening, or spending time in nature. The other is silence. Another way is reading. And one that…