Urban Agriculture

When I first heard the term “urban agriculture,” I thought that it was a potential answer to the jeopardy question of “What is a oxy moron?” But as I learned more about it, urban agriculture turned out to be an actual thing. It exists.

Now many of you are probably asking, “What does urban agriculture even mean?” At least that was my first question.

News flash: Farming is no longer solely a rural enterprise. According to a MIT report, 20% of the people that are undernourished live in cities. Due to high housing costs and unemployment, obtaining food becomes a challenge. In order to decrease this statistic, there must be new areas to grow food. After dealing with this problem for years, cities finally had a grand idea- why not try to grow their own food?

The city of Seattle was one of the first to explore this concept. Their P-Patch Program was established almost forty years ago. Covering more than forty acres, the produce generated is enough to serve over 2,000 households.

This is not just an experiment any more. More and more cities are jumping on the bandwagon of incorporating agriculture into there future plans. An area of land in-between the lower-income Cabrini Green district and the upper-end Gold Coast section in Chicago has been converted into an urban farm that produces over 25,000 pounds of produce.

A proposed farm in Detroit would be the largest urban farm in the world.

No, this photo is not photoshopped. That is the Chicago skyline in the background.

While I had never heard about urban farming just three weeks ago, the idea really makes sense to me. Take Detroit for example. Detroit has nearly fifty square miles of vacant land. That is correct- fifty. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than one out of every five people that live in Detroit does not have a job. Urban agriculture benefits more than the environment alone- but also provide food to those that need it. Adding these to Detroit would help a struggling city feed its population.

All of hunger in cities will not be fixed by urban agriculture. Global Warming will not cease to exist if farms crop up in the middle of New York City, New Delhi, Shanghai, and Paris. But it is a meaningful and effective way to increase the quality of life in a great number of people. Just because your preconceived notions about farming no longer holds true in the 21st century does not mean that you cannot change your mind and push your local community to open even a small area for agriculture. It will make a difference.

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One thought on “Urban Agriculture

  1. Hi Michael,

    It is interesting how your tone changes throughout this piece. You start off very accessible and conversational, move into educational (all very good), and end on advocacy. The only thing I would change is to bring it full circle and end with conversational question instead. Your photos are good but are formatted a bit funny. Maybe lead with a photo of brightly colored vegetables? Make your title more keyword-rich too. Your sources and voice are great. Very nice progress.

    ~Melissa

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