The Benefits of Urban Farming

The Benefits of Urban Farming

It seems as though Urban Farming is one of those things that more and more people are catching on to.  A few years ago, when I would talk to people in our community about our chickens and bees and all of the veggie beds we were building, more often than not I would be looked at either in confusion or as though we had officially lost our minds.  Now though, I regularly hear, “I want to do that!” or “I have a big garden, too!” or “Oh, I would love to have chickens but I didn’t think we could in the city!”  Maybe it’s just because we’re in Santa Fe and it can be a bit crunchy here, but since our little plot was featured in the Homegrown NM Kitchen Garden and Coop Tour last summer, I choose to believe it is because more and more people are seeing the benefits of producing their own food.

So, what are the benefits of urban farming?

The Benefits of Urban Farming

Urban Farming Reduces Food Miles

In the United States, the average meal travels ~1,500 miles to reach our plates while producing your own fruits and veggies, eggs, honey and goats milk allows for your meals to come from right outside your door.  Not only is the nutritional value of your food then left intact, but the carbon footprint of the meal is next to zero.  Plus, it really is true that food you’ve produced yourself tastes better than anything you could purchase in a grocery store.

Urban Farming Encourages Healthy, Seasonal Eating

If you harvest it in June, you’ll eat it in June.  Fresh food is the best food.  Preserved food (in the way of jams, sauces or dehydrated treats) is the second best.  Out of necessity, we (humans on this planet) ate this way for countless years and we can re-adapt our habits back to a more seasonal way of eating.  No, it won’t be as convenient and it will take practice and time to break our habits, but if it’s better for the environment and our pallets, then it’s worth a shot, right?

The Benefits of Urban Farming

Urban Farming Reduces Food Waste

If you grow kale, you’ll eat kale.  If you grow apples, you’ll eat apples.  If you raise chickens, you will eat eggs (lots of them).  Yes, you can purchase the same foods and you might even eat them, but chances are that you will throw away at least 1/3 of all the food you purchase.  Sometimes it goes bad in the fridge before you even have a chance to cook it up, sometimes it’s the leftovers that get tossed.  However, if you produce a good portion of the food you eat, your chances of wasting it go down because you have worked very hard to get it and, as mentioned above, it will taste better, therefore encouraging you to eat it all!

Urban Farming Saves Money

Food is expensive and one might argue that it always has been.  However, with the droughts affecting many areas and floods affecting others, we’ve all seen the news reports and experienced the sticker shock at the grocery store.  Meats, dairy, fruits and veggies are either slowly going up each season or they’re skyrocketing from year to year.  While it is very challenging to be fully self-sustainable in an urban setting, growing a bit of your own food and gathering all of your own eggs will save you lots of money in the long run.

The Benefits of Urban Farming

Urban Farming Encourages Exercise & Fresh Air

Too often most of us can be found on our couches in front of the TV or in our offices behind a computer.  While starting an urban farm won’t stop that entirely, it can encourage (er…force) you to step away from the screen and out into the fresh air to care for your plants and animals.  Weeding, hauling soil and cleaning the chicken coop are hard work!  It may not be exercise in the “traditional” sense, but I’d much rather break a sweat while producing something I can eat later than by running on a treadmill, wouldn’t you?

Urban Farming Creates Mini Oasis’

Greening our cities is something that local governments are beginning to realize is very important and they (we) are spending millions of dollars to put in parks and gardens where greenery was torn out and replaced with asphalt two decades ago.  Green areas reduce urban temperatures and encourage a diverse ecology.  Additionally, individuals are finding that adding a few plants or trees or a patch of (drought tolerant) grass not only improves their view of the city beyond their balcony/terrace/rooftop/front porch/urban lot, but it also improves their moods.  I mean really, is it possible to be unhappy with your toes in the grass or sitting beneath a huge shade tree or while smelling the flowers or watching the bees?  Right.

The Benefits of Urban Farming

The truth is, if you are passionate about your current urban farm or planning/hoping to start one, all of the benefits will always outweigh the challenges. This urban farming journey of ours was not planned, it was just an evolution of sorts, and I truly would not have it any other way.

xoxo,
M

Linking up to the Homestead Barn Hop #151, Homemade Mondays #72

Written by Melissa @ Ever Growing Farm

15 Comments

  1. Crafty_Cristy

    I love this post, too. I would also add that, for me, urban homesteading has created more community and conversation between neighbors. 2 of my neighbors came over last week and asked for a tour. Two others have started talking to me as I work out there. (This is new.) And a little girl in the neighborhood follows me around as I work out there, saying things like, “When I get my own peach tree, I will…”

    The other thing that has happened, for me, is that I have become more connected to and appreciative of, nature.
    Crafty_Cristy recently posted…Close Up Views of the Spring GardenMy Profile

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  3. Abby Jo

    Hello, really good post! We just moved from five acres, where for the last five years we built up a beautiful homestead. We learned so much there, but we moved along with goal to live 100% debt free. We now live on a small lot in a rural town, and we have big homestead dreams. It’s so nice to read, other people making the dream possible in town too 🙂

    1. Bee Girl

      Wow! Good for you to aim to go 100% debt free! That is on our list as well, but man is it the undertaking! We are very happy with our little urban farm…for now! Someday we will have the funds and ability to take the plunge and find a rural property! Please feel free to contact me with any question you might have about doing as much as possible in the city 🙂 Cheers!

    2. Andrea

      Abby, I just went and read your story on your blog, and felt compelled to reply. I long for land, but continue to stay on our tiny lot in town–the biggest goal being to pay it off, and to hopefully be able to live debt free someday. I know that owning any amount of land and starting a homestead is out of my financial reach. Even moving to a bigger suburban lot is out of my reach right now. I’m not saying things will never change, but I’m trying to live within my means and to see how far I can go with my little suburban homestead. I just wanted to say your story touched and inspired me, and I wish you luck!
      Andrea recently posted…Sausage, Leek, Carrot and Butter Bean StewMy Profile

  4. Taylor-Made Ranch Homestead

    I absolutely LOVE this article. Many people feel overwhelmed and as a result just do nothing, but providing food for yourself can start with a few containers of tomatoes and peppers and you can do more from there. And you’re so right, food you grow yourself really DOES taste better than anything you can buy in the store. Start small if necessary, but start where you are now! Thanks for sharing this post (Visiting from Homemade Mondays Hop)

    ~Taylor-Made Ranch~
    Wolfe City, Texas
    Taylor-Made Ranch Homestead recently posted…‘Cook Once, Eat Twice’ Method Of CookingMy Profile

    1. Bee Girl

      I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed it! I do believe that it is very easy to dream about and pine away over all that could be “some day”! Our goal with our little farm is to practice as much as we can now (and learn, learn, learn) so that when our “some day” comes, we will have a clue 😉 Plus, the work and the end product is so very good for us now 🙂 Plus, you get tomatoes!!!

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