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Reasons for urban gardens

City garden vegetables
City garden vegetables
photo: Carol Nissen

Being a city dweller and having a city garden can be a tough row to hoe, but the benefits are real. City dwellers fight for every inch of open space in an environment where many times uninvolved distant investors make decisions for them on how they are going to live. The reasons to join a community garden or start growing some of your own food on a small scale are real. No, this is not going to change the world right away. The 100 Mile Diet, Urban Sustainability, Smart Growth, Rain Gardens, Renewable Energy and Green Roofs are evidence of an evolving awareness that we urban dwellers cannot keep relying on sources of food, water and energy that are far away. It is just too easy to be held hostage to greed.

Here are some benefits:

1) Help revitalize LOCAL COMMERCE. The money stays in the local area and helps sustain it.
2) Less use of materials toxic to the environment. The fossil fuel industry is a huge player in agriculture both in the growing and transport of food over long distances.
3) More local control of food, energy, water and information has political implications. Political candidates will have to either throw down for being supported by the community or show their hand taking money from outside interests.
4) More attention to the eating of fresh foods unadulterated with pesticides, herbicides, gmo and the eating of less junk food will affect the health and welfare of the community. Who benefits from poor health, malnutrition and obesity?
5) Get to know more of your neighbors. Community gardening and the local selling of goods brings more interaction among residents. Other residents are no longer strangers. You can grow in a shared plot, sell what you grow in a market or join a gardening group. This common ground of shared activity can have a unifying effect on a community.
6) The more aware people become of their food, their environment and of what they need to live, the more aware they will become of how their hard earned tax dollars are being spent. Bloom's taxonomy cites evaluation as one of the highest levels of learning. Asking is this good for me or us as a community becomes more of a habit. What are the benefits? What are the drawbacks? Is this short term gain at the expense of the future? Is there a better way?

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