Urban Gardening: The Suburban Spread

Urban gardening — or urban farming — is spreading across middle class neighborhoods throughout the country. And as it spreads into the suburbs, its scale is expanding, too.

Suburban gardening isn’t just a pot of tomatoes on the balcony or some herbs on a windowsill. It’s people growing real food for their families.

These are people who want to stretch their food dollar and be sure that their families are getting quality food grown without chemical fertilizers and pesticides, food that hasn’t been subjected to the questionable effects of genetic modification. Some of the gardeners have even expanded to raising animals — chickens, rabbits, and bees.

Tammy Francois does a great job of discussing the many benefits of urban farming in her article for the Duluth News Tribune.

urban gardening

The beginnings of urban gardening: tomatoes mixed in a flower bed.

Urban Gardening Will Help Save Money, Health, Sanity . . .  and Maybe Even the Earth

My daughter recently joined the ranks of urban farmers. She lives in a very nice neighborhood in Northfield known for its beautiful and eclectically designed homes, well-kept yards and flower gardens, but behind her trendy mid-century modern home and meticulously landscaped yard is a vegetable garden, container gardens, berry patches and, soon, a chicken coop.

I’m sure it will come as a bit of a shock to some of her neighbors, but it’s a growing trend in urban and suburban areas everywhere, even here in our region. I can think of a handful of people I know who are now proudly raising chickens, ducks or rabbits. There are also some folks raising bees for honey production and sale and those who raise the bulk of the vegetables consumed by their families in their back yards or plots they share with others.

My daughter and her family, like many other urban (and suburban) dwellers, are looking for ways to ensure the quality of their food and decrease their impact on the environment. They are concerned about the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, the effect of genetic modification on our food supply and our health and the deplorable conditions in which animals sometimes live on large-scale, factory farms. They want to live with respect for the animals and earth that produce their food and feed themselves well. (Read the full article.)

To me, urban (and suburban) gardening is a movement whose time has come. It’s not an easy one though:  Most of us are way too used to convenience. And a lot of us aren’t as patient as we need to be to garden for food. But with everything it has going for it — more than any article can really address — I hope enough of us can change our mindsets to help the urban gardening  movement grow. This is one movement that deserves to succeed.

Are you an urban or suburban gardener?  Do you grow any of your own food?  If you do, what makes it worth the effort for you?  Drop us a comment and let us know.

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Photo by Gracey courtesy of morguefile.com.






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