Oct 3, 2009

The Future of Urban Gardening

In cities across the country, people are converting small plots of land into 1/4 acres or more of urban plenty. Perhaps it is concerns about a tighter budget, an interest in eating locally, or maybe it’s just an enhanced appreciation for both the intricate and simple joys to be found in growing one’s own food. Nevertheless, urban garden plots are springing up everywhere.

No matter the reason for your interest in urban gardening, creating a growing green space in the concrete jungle is good for air and water quality, and it increases the supply of fresh, local produce. From the novice gardener to the seasoned horticulturist and from pea patches to rooftop gardens, there are resources for anyone interested in growing their own cornucopia in the midst of a bustling city.

Think Small, Start Big

Whether you have a large backyard or need to find a creative home for your first plot, The American Community Garden Association (ACGA) is a good place to start searching for the right gardening situation for you.

The ACGA serves the U.S. and Canada, and gardeners can find resources to help start their own community garden and search for gardens by zip code or state. The association also provides links to other regional urban gardening associations, as well as research and tips about growing in the city.

Finding Your Community

From Washington D.C. to Seattle, Washington, there are community garden associations to help the budding urban gardener find his or her niche. DC Urban Gardeners offers “resources and networking for a greener Washington D.C.,” and Seattle Tilth “inspires and educates people to garden organically, conserve natural resources and support local food systems in order to cultivate a healthy urban environment and community.”

No Yard? No Problem!

Whether you choose to rent a plot in a community garden, or you use the Web to find a garden in need of your green thumb, the Internet has made it easier than ever for you to find the right match. Organizations like Urban GardenShare match those with yards and gardens in need of attention with folks who have the urge but not the space to grow.

If a service like this has not been established in your city, go the less formal (and technical) route and ask around – chances are friends or acquaintances would be happy for the gardening help in exchange for a share of the bounty. Also, don’t forget that even the tiniest deck can serve as a home for a potted plant garden.

As more and more people find that growing their own food is one of the easiest ways to improve individual, community and environmental health, expect potential green spaces to be transformed into urban oases.

Read more from Libuse Binder at Weekly Way.

5-18-09

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