Urban dwellers are discovering that no backyard or plot of land is too small to grow their own food. Combining the local and organic food movements with DIY, urban farming is on the rise.
With worldwide bee populations dwindling, many gardeners are planting bee-friendly flowers in an effort to attract these once-dreaded insects. Furthermore, keeping bees for their honey is becoming a less daunting option, with the successful crowdfunding campaign for the Flow Hive, which makes harvesting honey simpler and less intrusive for the colony.
The centuries-old practice of allotment gardening is becoming increasingly popular in cities where undeveloped land is hard to come by. In London, demand for garden plots far outstrips the available supply.
Raising chickens has also become popular among urbanites, with cruelty-free, organic eggs as their reward. In Toronto, chickens are available for six-month rentals and arrive with their own coop and feed.
Nurturing plants and animals requires a lot of care and attention, and as a result, a micro sharing-economy can develop between neighbours. Nipping over to feed your neighbour’s chickens while they’re out of town is a small price to pay for fresh eggs.
Industrialized agriculture has left urbanites out of touch with where their food comes from. Although backyard farms and community gardens may not be enough to feed entire cities, they’re important tools for education and positive steps toward healthier, more sustainable ways of getting food to our tables.
Lauren Miles is editor of OpenCity Projects.