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From The Ground Up: Urban Agriculture

September 24, 2008 | By More

Last week the guys and I attended a lecture presented by the Gardiner Museum, From the Ground Up: Nurturing the Art of Sustainability. Urban agriculture was a topic that I had never considered before. The idea is centered on integration with the local ecosystem meaning that farming is made possible by urban residents as labourers, use of typical urban resources (like organic waste as compost and urban wastewater for irrigation), direct links with urban consumers making it an increasingly important endeavor by urbanites as our world continues to change.

Urban Agriculture potentially has the power to sustain the basic living necessities of people living in urban areas. With only a small roof-top micro farm or window garden, a family of four could feasibly grow essential crops like grains, roots, vegetables, mushrooms and select fruits based on climate or garden sophistication. The importance of urban farms can be highlighted by the fact that nearly 80% of North Americans live in large urban areas. The demands on people from rural towns and farms has created a strain on the amount of people who farm, according to keynote speaker Michael Ableman. He believes it’s time that we all get back to the soil.

Mr. Ableman suggested some interesting ideas about how to make urban agriculture a part of modern living; high school children should take a class in agriculture before being allowed to graduate; new building developments be mandated to set aside “farmable” land where the need of that population could be sustained; turning all private lands into functioning urban gardens; and home owners being taxed 1% on the purchase price of a home in order to fund large urban gardens.

It was an informative talk, and it will be interesting to see if any of Mr. Ableman’s suggestions gain steam in the near future.

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Category: Foodea

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