Farming is awesome. But somehow it has gotten into people that farming is only for the lower rural class. You know, getting dirty and doing something with your hands is not for the upper class with a ‘real’ job’ behind a desk. We, urban people, take the food farmers grow for granted, thinking it will always be there, right at our favourite supermarket.
But here’s a reality check: As of 2007 our world has gone from a primarily rural planet to a primarily urban one. And with world population ever on the rise, we are going to find ourselves in a difficult situation. Because the question is: How are we going to feed all these people?
Roger Doiron, in his inspiring TED Talk, stated the problem as following: “To keep up with population growth, more food will have to be produced worldwide over the next 50 years, than has been over the past 10,000 years combined.”
Now, that’s a serious problem.
So I guess it’s time to get our hands dirty, urbans unite! It’s time to get into urban farming.
How the be an urban farmer? Here are few ideas.
1. Grow your own
It’s simple. Start growing your own food. You can grow your own food anywhere. Whether you have a balcony, windowsill or garden plot at your disposal. Really, there are no excuses. Sign up for our newsletter and receive ‘The beginners guide to food independence’, this will help you get started.
You’ll see that once you’ve started it gets more fun everyday. I can think of nothing more rewarding than eating your first ever home-grown salad. Just give it a try.
2. Learn how to cook the real thing
Being an urban farmer is all about being less dependent on grocery stores and supermarkets. So give yourself a challenge and try to cook something from scratch. Take a look at our Recipe section and try a few recipes. There’s a whole new world of tastes and smiling faces to discover!
3. Keep chickens
Okay, you are going to need a little bit of space.. but if you have some, keeping some chickens is a great way to upgrade your urban farm.
They need a suitable shelter and about 1.5 m2 to roam about. Let´s estimated the space 2 normal hens need at about 4.5 m2. Most backyards in my neighbourhood have a lawn in their backyard about twice that size.
When you pick the right breed, hens can give you about 220 eggs a year. That comes down to 4 eggs a week per hen. If you keep two hens, you should keep al least two of them anyway, you´ll have 8 eggs a week. That´s enough for a few muffins, a frittata and eggs on toast in the weekends.
4. Buy local produce
To become a real urban farmer there is one more key thing to remember. It is almost impossible to provide everything you’ll need by yourself when living in an urban area.
This doesn’t mean you are destined to buy everything from the multinationals and big stores.
Think locally. Take some time to find sources of meat, fish, dairy or flour in your own neighbourhood.
If it’s not convenient for you to drive around a few miles to collect your necessities, you can go online. A lot of local producers sell their goods online and ship them to your house.
When you buy local goods, you support the people in your environment by giving them a good price for their labor. This boosts your local economy which makes it good for you too.
5. Share the bounty
The most important thing about being an urban farmer is feeling the community spirit. Old wisdom says that whatever you share will multiply. So share whatever you have in excess and build some relationships.
A very easy vegetable to share is zucchini. This plant will give you more fruit that you can eat, so you can easily share it with your neighbours or other local urban farmers. If you wanna go the extra mile you can make a few jars of zucchini pickles. Success guaranteed.
When you share you build relationships with other people who also have something to share. In this way you can end up with beautiful homemade produce or products that you would never come up with all by yourself.
Everyone has unique talents, and if we all share them the world would be a great place with enough food to go around for everyone.
Please share your own thoughts on urban farming. Have you started yet?