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Blog Expo Agrofuturo

Urban farms are thriving amid the pandemic

The rise of urban farming

Urban farming is pretty much what it sounds like: a farm in an urban setting. That setting could be as modest as a window sill or even a rooftop. Some urban farmers even sell their wares to people in their community.

And backyards aren't off-limits either. Why waste all that sunlight on grass when you can have gourds and green peppers and golden potatoes?

In healthier times, community farms — urban spaces shared and tilled by neighbors — would also fit the bill. There's also an even bigger kind of urban farm that has long been building momentum. Community Supported Agriculture operations, known simply as CSAs, are flourishing amid the pandemic, Civil Eats Servicios al usuario Reports.

The definition of a CSA can be broad, but essentially it's a network that connects a community more closely with farmers. That more direct relationship often results in boxes of in-season produce being delivered directly to your doorstep.

As Davida Lederle, a blogger and podcaster for the Healthy Maven, describes it, "Each CSA looks a little bit different. Some don't deliver right to your door but you have to pick them up. Others feed 2 people, while some are built to feed a full family. Some pick all of the fruits and veggies for you, while others allow you to pick and choose options."

It should come as little surprise that the number of people relying on CSAs has tripled in parts of America in recent days, as The New York Times Servicios al usuario Reports. After all, who wants to compete with the panic-shopping thongs, risking not-so-sanitary shopping carts and humans in the check-out line? Urban farms all but eliminate fear and loathing at the grocery store.

The thing about urban farming, whether you grow your own food or have a local farmer on speed dial, is that it's always a good thing — even when we're not living in pandemic times.

"Having some extra food coming in this summer sounds like a pretty good idea, rather than having to worry about paying for our next meal," an urban farmer in Ontario, Canada tells Maclean's magazine.

It's the same steady refrain heard across this quarantined continent.

"I decided that I would grow a garden because we're finding in my work related job that there's going to be some food shortages, so I wanted to prepare for my family," Michelle Casias of Fargo, North Dakota tells KVRR News.

Of course, this wouldn't be the first time a nation has turned to hyper-local farming in times of crisis. During the lean years of World War II, so-called "victory gardens" emerged in yards across the U.S. By the end of the war, America boasted nearly 20 million victory gardens, generating enough fruit and vegetables to feed 40 percent of the population.

If we had built on that homegrown momentum — rather than letting large-scale rural operations almost entirely take over food production — fewer neighborhoods would have become food deserts.

Urban farms won't feed entire cities. Large-scale operations still do a pretty good job of that. Nor are they necessarily better for the environment. Urban growers probably don't use pesticides and fertilizer as carefully or as efficiently as their big-scale brethren.

In an essay for Gastronomica, Jason Mark sums up the real value of the urban farm:

"Spend a few months taking a broccoli from seed to harvest, and you'll soon have a much deeper appreciation for the natural systems on which we depend. Our connection to the earth becomes gobsmackingly obvious when you watch the crops grow (or fail). The garden produces a harvest of teachable moments about what it means to live in an environment."

Articulo escrito por: CHRISTIAN COTRONEO


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