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Gardening without Borders, in partnership with Agritecture

Gardening without Borders, in partnership with Agritecture

Even though urban gardening has been gaining popularity over the years, city dwellers have never become more aware of where and how they get their food than during the pandemic. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations states that at least 55% of the world’s population already lives in urban areas and 80% of all food produced globally is destined for consumption in urban spaces. When the food supply chain could not match demand during the pandemic, food shortages plagued cities as supermarket shelves remained empty for days. During the World Wars, Americans grew “victory gardens” to combat food shortages - and many individuals today are returning to this novel idea to gain control over their food supply and to find an escape from life in lockdown as well.

At Plant People, we believe everyone should have the ability to produce quality food, so we have partnered with AGRITECTURE - the leaders in urban agriculture consulting services - to empower people to bring greenery into their home during these difficult times. It doesn’t matter if you have killed every plant in your tiny apartment, or live in a flat where the nearest park is miles away. Embracing your green thumb and growing your own vegetable garden is only possible if you just start. Trial and error is essential. 

First, when blueprinting your urban garden, do not stress about space constraints. There is a gardening method that fits every shape and size. Rooftop access is ideal, but not a necessity. You can also use a balcony, apartment wall, or even a window. Here are a five, easy methods to choose from to fit your exact urban gardening needs:

  1. Vertical gardening: As the name suggests, vertical gardening is when you hang plants along vertical surfaces, such as walls, barriers, and fences. You can also mount a series of hanging plants from a window if that is all the space you have. Herbs are best for this type of gardening. 
  2. Container gardening: Have a spare box, basket, pot, or old foosball table? Then you can container garden. Depending on the size of your planter, you can grow herbs and vegetables. Just place the container where you have an empty corner and let the seeds grow. 
  3. Hydroponic gardening: The most new-age type of gardening, hydroponic gardening uses no soil. Instead plants grow in a solution of water and nutrients. While this can get quite technical and expensive, there are cost-efficient options that can even fit on a desk! 
  4. Rooftop gardening: The most traditional type of urban gardening. If you have the space, rooftops can easily be transformed into a vibrant vegetable and herb garden. Build (or purchase) some garden beds and viola!  
  5. Community gardening: According to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 9.4 million Americans' nearest grocery is more than 1 mile away in urban areas or 10 miles away in rural areas. Community gardens are combating these food deserts and bringing communities together. Do a quick Google search to see where your nearest community garden is. Not only will you help others have access to fresh produce, but you will also engage with people in your neighborhood. 

Once you have identified what your urban garden will look like, purchase soil and seeds and then, you are ready to grow your green oasis. Start off with easy vegetables like tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers. Radishes, beans, Swiss chard, kale, and sweet peas are also good options as they grow quickly. Ideally tie the produce you are growing to the seasons in order to set you up for the most success. If you want to take your urban gardening to the next level and increase biodiversity of your city, build sustainable gardens that support pollinators and attract wildlife, such as bees and butterflies. Doing so will help create new pathways for birds with the new food source and also help cool down the city.  

Urban gardening also has other advantages beyond producing nutritious food. It reduces your stress levels, cuts food costs and waste, and lowers your ecological footprint. As to urban agriculture’s broader social impact, these gardens create a safe space for communities to come together to grow food and have a hands-on education about nutrition and food access. Urban agriculture is also more than a food source; it’s a new typology of job creation and economic development. Local food demand has increased from 5 billion dollars in value in 2008 to 20 billion dollars in 2019, so urban agriculture has a strong economic value-add on top of its social, mental, and environmental benefits. 

Simply put, living in a city does not mean you have to sacrifice green living. Urban gardening is a part of a growing agriculture revolution that is inspiring people to reconnect with food and nature regardless of where they live. Not to mention that you also get nutritious, fresh produce out of the experience. A USDA study found that New York City urban gardens produce tomato plants with a yield of 4.6 pounds per plant compared with a conventional average of 0.6 pound per plant. So grab your tools, find an empty corner, and start urban gardening - you won’t regret it! 

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