Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Whether it is a fad, curiosity or dedication, urban farming or gardening is increasingly being promoted in the US as well as Canada and people involved seem to be excited about joining such a movement in large numbers. It is not sure whether such type of initiatives would solve the food problems and overcome the pessimism of people about the safety of foods delivered to them by the organized sector of food trade. However what is to be admired is the enthusiasm with which people are queuing up before urban administrations in many cities to allot plots to them for farming. Here is an example from Vancouver in Canada where urban gardening has become literally a craze!

"Five years ago, there were only 780 community garden plots in Vancouver. Now there are 3,400. City planners faced with unrelenting clamour for more spots are striving to boost the number to 5,000 in the next decade, says Mary-Clare Zak, the city's social-policy director. With waits as long as three years for the city-serviced community garden plots, many people are turning to unauthorized "guerrilla gardens," one of the most impressive of which was started by a wheelchair-bound man along unused railroad tracks by Granville Island. "He was surprised that nobody stole his tomatoes," Tracey says. "Now all along the tracks you can see, the neighbours have taken it on." Throughout the city, green-minded property owners are also contributing to the urban agriculture boom, letting small-scale farmers and neighbours use their yards to grow food, often in exchange for a share of the produce, Tracey says".

One of the advantages of urban gardening is that the greenery created inside the city premises provides some relief from carbon pollution as they act as C02 sinks. Besides who does not like the refreshing environment provided by the greenery amidst concrete cement structures that distinguish urban areas from agricultural lands. Involvement of whole families in such efforts expose them to the intricacies involved in agriculture. Why are they called "guerrilla gardens" in stead of the well known terminology "urban gardens"?. Probably many gardens are created on plots sanctioned by the city authorities, considered legal but a significant number have come up in public places, abandoned city land and other non-decrepit places not frequented by people and since they are not legal they are being called guerrilla gardens. While authorities are lenient on such "farmers" because of the benefit society derives from such endeavors, it is a tribute to the honesty of citizens in these places that the produce raised in unauthorized lands are rarely stolen!


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