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Urban Farming

The word "farm" often conjures up images of pigpens, silos, and acres of corn, not urban “farmers” living in a city.

Urban farming isn’t new. Ancient Persia had urban farms, and so did Macchu Picchu. However, now with the popularity of green living, urban farming has become more common. The environmental benefits of urban farming are numerous. Cities are often the most environmentally-friendly places to live, with public transportation and being able to walk everywhere. If you can grow your own food, it just adds to the “greenness.”

One hurdle when it comes to urban farming is space. Here are some ways around that:

  • Community gardens. Start your garden with other people in your area!  Check out CommunityGardens.org  to find one near you! 
  • Similarly, there are also allotment gardens. Instead of everyone sharing the gardening space, everyone has their own little garden. 
  • Roof gardens. You can plant lots of things in containers and barrels.
  • Balcony or fire escape gardens.  This also works if you have a balcony or a fire escape. Tomatoes do well in containers, and I find them to be one of the most useful fruits to grow.   Check with local regulations or your landlord to see what you're allowed to do.
  •  Lastly, there are indoor gardens. I like the AeroGarden.  


I live right outside of Boston, so while it’s not totally urban, our neighborhood tends to have smaller homes and yards, and condos. Recently, residents in my city have begun to keep chickens for fresh eggs.   In fact, only a block away some neighbors have quite an elaborate chicken setup which my son loves to visit!  Do take note that keeping chickens is illegal in some cities, and there may be other restrictions. (i.e., some cities make you keep a minimum amount of chickens) Check out this guide to urban livestock - you can also keep things like goats or rabbits.

I think another helpful thing to do with your urban farm, in keeping with the tradition of Keen and Green, is to make your homegrown food last. Can your food!  We’ve been on a marinara sauce kick right now, canning up a storm. What could be better than having homemade spaghetti with marinara with homegrown tomatoes in January?

Since space is limited with an urban garden, start an urban farming co-op with your other eco-minded green-thumbed friends! 

For some additional resources visit http://www.urbanfarming.org/ and http://www.urbanfarmonline.com/.