DMI Blog

Emi Wang

Urban Farming Continues to Sprout

The Huffington Post reported yesterday that three Republican senators lambasted the USDA’s “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative back in April, arguing that the program unfairly drew funds away from rural agriculture. What these legislators blatantly failed to recognize is that the Know Your Farmer approach crucially supports local farming and a direct link between farmers and consumers.

Local agriculture, and particularly urban farming, allows residents to gain access to fresh produce and healthy alternatives to mass-produced fast food. It also breaks our reliance upon the industrial food structure and its detrimental effects upon the environment, such as the use of fossil fuels and the depletion of soil. And as my colleague Karin noted on Monday, urban farming provides an alternative to production agriculture that relies on massive federal subsidies. “We’ve got to change the system so everyone has safe, equitable access to healthy food,” says Will Allen, a leading expert on urban farming and a recipient of the MacArthur Foundation’s “genius” grant.

Today, city residents are forming innovative solutions to meet the growing interest and need for homegrown agriculture. Where land is scarce, rooftop farming is increasingly on the rise. Beyond providing fresh fruit and vegetables, urban gardens help to diminish storm water runoff, insulate buildings and reduce heating costs. Meanwhile, the organization Woolly Pocket is taking it upon themselves to promote greenery in unusual places, creating pop-up gardens around New York beginning this week and recently designing a vertical wall garden in Los Angeles.

Urban agriculture meets the need for locally grown, healthy food, and the USDA’s support of such efforts is only a step in the right direction.

Emi Wang: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 1:36 PM, Jun 18, 2010 in Food Policy
Permalink | Email to Friend