What’s the closest place you can think of when you think of local food? Nothing is closer than the herbs growing on your windowsill but that is a little limiting to say the least. I guess the next closest place would be your backyard. Again, you can only grow so much in your backyard, or yard for that matter, and your choices can be limiting depending on your climate and your knowledge. The next closest would be your neighbour’s yard or community gardens. Now you hope they are proficient gardeners/farmers and kind enough to share the wealth.
A lot of people don’t have time or the interest in gardening or farming, which is sad but the truth, and would prefer to buy locally but want the convenience attached to it. For most that are dedicated to making this work join Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) groups or shop at the local farmers market. I applaud any who make the effort to make the change. Traditionally, I say this with the past 70 years in mind, farmers markets are supplied by farmers living outside the city but close enough to make it work. Anyone who has been following the changes in agricultural initiatives knows that urban farming has become more popular than ever.
Urban farms are some of the most local and sustainable farming initiatives in recent times. With the growing of shared knowledge and interest these urban farmers tend to be willing to experiment bringing a diversified spread of vegetables not usually seen. When I worked at SOLEfood in Vancouver it was hard to beat freshness when you harvest as the sun just crests the coastal mountains and drive five minutes to the farmers market to set up. Now that is fresh local food.
Dan Susman and Andrew Monbouquette from Omaha agree that urban farming is important. Inspired by the concerns of urban growth and the impact this has on society, Dan and Andrew went on a road trip to find out which cities are embracing urban farming. They visited 22 cities and over 30 urban farms during their road trip through the US. Check out their film at Growing Cities Movie.