Monday, May 3, 2010


Urban gardening or food crop cultivation was touted as a solution to make the community self-sufficient with regard to some of their food needs. The energy crisis, economic crisis and the latest emission crisis probably energized the local food movement under the presumption that such a strategy would "solve" all the problems. Beyond serving as a curiosity, the movement cannot be expected to be of any relevance to day. Cultivating vacant lands nearby or setting up a terrace garden for vegetables can be a hobby for many urban dwellers but the scale of operation or the intensity of involvement cannot match the volume requirements of any viable community. The problems of logistics clearly rule out any dramatic development in the foreseeable future.

"Clearly the biggest challenges to the growing interest in urban agriculture are meeting the demand for land to farm, gaining knowledge about how to do it and finding avenues for selling backyard produce. City and regional leaders, businesses, educators and nonprofit groups are all pitching in to help sate that demand. Some of the need is being met by a Web site called Urban Garden Share. Amy Pennington, the site's founder, was out drinking cocktails with some budding gardeners -- but who also were apartment dwellers and therefore lacked their own row to hoe. They were considering "rogue gardening" on the sly to meet their gardening needs. An idea struck Pennington: "How fun would it be to do on line dating for gardens?" So in March 2009, she created Urban Garden Share. The free service matches people with unused land available for urban farming with gardeners looking for a place to grow food. Now there are close to 400 active listings, which are identified by neighborhood".

How long such a fancy will last remains to be seen. The ready to use growing kits, minimum physical effort needed to set up such gardens and the cooperative attitude of the members of the communities there make the job much easier to accomplish. If urban dwellers get pleasure doing limited farming, in spite of their daily chores, encouraging them to indulge in this hobby can be justified from social and psychological angles. But definitely not to solve the food problem of a whole community. In cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore etc such proposals might be construed as incongruous and crazy because of huge pressure on land, power and water and the vice-like grip, the real estate mafia has on these land starved metropolitan entities.


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