If you live in a city, you don’t have to go to far to see that urban growing is the newest trend in green building. It seems like a garden has been squeezed into nearly every rooftop and sunny space in cities across the nation, and for good reason. With several billion mouths to feed and food costs rising by the day, urban growing is the next logical step in the agriculture industry. Considering the restaurants new craze, farm-to-table meals, the need becomes even more apparent.
While it may seem like an outlandish idea at first, given the already limited space in many urban cities, the benefits far outweigh the costs. For example, many people have begun to demand more local produce from their regular suppliers. By growing food locally, suppliers will reduce the travel time it takes for food to reach their store, so produce will constantly be fresh, in season and cheaper. This will promote a healthier lifestyle, as people will have the option of cheap produce rather than canned produce loaded with preservatives. It will be like a farmer’s market at every grocery store you go to.
Another benefit of urban farming is that it can add greenery to cities, which will increase shade, create a better living environment and reduce “heat island” effects. Furthermore, when people see the produce they eat, they will gain a greater appreciation for where that food comes from.
Opponents of urban garden claim that, because space is limited enough as it is in high-density cities, which means more expensive land, urban farming is not cost effective. What they fail to realize is that where there is a demand for a product, innovation soon follows. This is no different with urban growing, as young, bright-minded entrepreneurs have already begun the process of growing high-yielding produce in a small area.
Though not a new trend in itself, rooftop gardens have grown considerably in the past several years. Some enthusiastic farmers have even gone so far as to revolutionize the way plants can be grown as to allow for more produce with a smaller footprint. Rousse’s grocery store in New Orleans, for example, has developed its own aeroponic urban farm on its rooftop in the middle of downtown New Orleans. The tower garden structure, which is used primarily for herbs and spices, uses water instead of soil, and allows plants to grow up instead of out.
Urban farming has changed dramatically over the past several years, and it seems that there is no end in sight. As land becomes more scarce, and the demand for fresh, local produce rises, innovation will give way to success. Some will fail, many will succeed, but in the end, the World will become a fresher place for everyone.
Patrick Rafferty is the marketing assistant for Brahman Systems, a Louisiana based construction company with a patented all-steel enclosed hose and cable protection.