Large cities have to develop new and innovative ways to introduce gardening to everyone. One way they’re able to achieve this is through Urban Gardening. But what is this?
Urban gardening is the procedure of growing plants or vegetables in an urban-like environment. Because of its urban characteristics, people have to come up with unique gardening concepts. Some of these are container gardening, indoor gardening, community gardening, guerrilla gardening, or rooftop gardening.
Due to the increase of poverty arising worldwide, urban gardening also has increased. Currently, over 800 million people practice urban gardening or agriculture worldwide. Could this link to the rising levels of poverty?
In this article, we discuss the benefits that urban gardening has on our economy, environment, and well-being to convince you to maybe hop on the trend of becoming an urban gardener. Without further or due, let’s get into this.
What are some benefits to urban gardening?
The word urban brings a lot into my mind. I think of tall skyscraper buildings, busy roads, roaring trams or trains, and a vast amount of people. But, putting the word urban before garden or gardening seems rather peculiar.
However, as mentioned, this type of gardening is becoming a rather popular trend, which millions of people have hopped on. To help you understand why and the sheer benefits this type of gardening entails, see below.
1.Can boost interest in agriculture
The first and most prominent advantage that urban gardening can provide people living in these areas is the ability to learn and gain interest in the industry. Because of this, more people can become intrigued with gardening, which will produce more urban farmers/gardeners.
Apart from giving people the chance to gain interest, it also allows children to learn more about the industry. For young people, gardening is a superb way to learn many life lessons. It teaches you about planning, managing, caretaking, scheduling, dedication, and much more.
From providing this learning in urban areas, we’ll develop a higher interest in employment within the gardening and agriculture sectors. Including that, what they learn in school, they’ll be able to take out into the real world and even pass on the knowledge for generations to come.
2.Increase food security
Something else urban gardens can enhance is food security. Many urban environments are homes for people living in poverty. Currently, in the United States, there’s an estimated 10.5% of households have insecure food.
To have a percentage of this significance in the time we live in today is rather daunting. However, urban gardens can help reduce this number and let me tell you how.
Growing vegetables is completely sustainable and doesn’t require much capital at all. The three main resources to grow food are sunlight, water, and soil; providing you have all three of these, you’re able to develop a sustainable garden for the rest of your life.
However, because people within urban areas have insufficient knowledge about this type of industry due to where they live, it is extremely difficult for them to pursue this. But, with urban gardening communities becoming larger and more renowned, this could most certainly decrease the figure shown.
3.Helps boost the local economy
Urban gardening also helps individuals socially interact with each other, contributing to society’s social well-being. It most definitely increases the community’s feeling as everyone participates entirely free to maintain and grow a garden or vegetable patch. Due to this, families, friends, grandparents, you name it, get together and do something they all love.
Having an activity like this that brings some companionship to people is remarkable. This is because it doesn’t just provide social benefits, but it provides dramatic advantages to our environment.
Apart from offering superb social benefits, it can also ramp up the local economy. From urban gardens producing fresh vegetables, they’re able to provide them at a cheaper rate to local grocery stores, schools, restaurants, and more catering-related businesses.
It doesn’t just give the growers money in their pocket, but it’ll probably most likely save a lot of money for local businesses that purchase from them. This is because there is minimal travel involved. For example, over 90% of all avocado product is produced in the United States. As we’re aware, avocados are sold worldwide in supermarkets, meaning that the price of avocados is massively increased due to the travel involved.
4.Creates environmental awareness
Something else that urban gardening benefits our communities is that it promotes environmental awareness. Some people, especially the younger generation, have very little understanding of how certain aspects of living affect our environment. However, this is mostly due to schools in urban areas not correctly developing this type of knowledge.
But from introducing people to the world of gardening and agriculture could help them develop their understanding of these issues. For example, newcomers may be growing fruit, and once they develop, they may discover that no fruit is produced. The reason behind this will be due to the lack of pollination.
Currently, something that many people are unaware of, we’re experiencing a global pollination crisis. Environmental agencies are trying to decrease this crisis by introducing pollen-loving plants and decreasing the number of pesticides used.
After experiencing this type of situation, you may encounter a deeper connection with the issue. It has a roll-on-like effect as more people face this issue, awareness grows, and something gets done about it.
5.Promotes healthy communities
There’s nothing more satisfying than eating what you’ve produced. Not just because it’s completely natural and chemical-free, but you’ve nurtured it throughout its life. Knowing that you’ve developed this vegetable since it was a seed gives you immense satisfaction.
Apart from healthy eating, it’s also physical activity. According to this post, the following gardening activities can burn these amounts of calories:
- Heavy yard work – This includes moving rocks, dirt, landscaping, etc., and it burns around 400-600 calories per hour
- Raking leaves – Doing this activity will burn around 350-450 calories per hour
- Typical gardening – This includes basic maintenance, like pulling weeds, sowing new seeds, trimming plants, etc., and it can burn approximately 200 – 400 calories per hour
- Mowing the lawn – This is only possible if you were to push a lawnmower, and this will burn 250-350 calories per hour
As you can see from the above, urban gardening can most definitely keep the community fit while promoting healthy eating. Without a doubt, this should be implemented in all urban places due to the vast number of accessible takeaways located in these locations.
6.Creates diversity in the gardening industry
Apart from the above, it also generates a huge diversity in the gardening and agricultural industry. Instead of your typical farmer’s field, or garden, people living in urban areas must develop innovative ideas to start producing their garden.
Here are some examples of how urban gardens are created:
- Backyard community gardens – The most common type of urban garden is a backyard community garden. These are when the communities either use their own or shared land in their local area to develop plants or crops. Most of the time, these are private rather than commercial areas.
- Repurpose spaces – With high street shops closing daily, it only means one thing, free space. Well, although it’s not usually completely free, some communities or councils will rent or pay for the space.
- Rooftop gardens – Something which I adore is rooftop gardens. This type of urban garden has massive pros and cons. Nonetheless, it offers an astronomical amount of sun, which most urban places fail to offer.
- Greenhouses – In most urban areas that produce large amounts of crops, they typically opt-in for huge greenhouses. From this, they’re able to control many important factors that are essential for growth.
- Vertical farms – These urban gardens can also be called “green walls” or “living walls” because of their wall-like characteristics. However, although they provide some benefits to our urban places, they’re mainly used for aesthetic reasons rather than practical.
- Indoor farms – From basements, shipping containers, or even warehouses, indoor farms are certainly a thing now, and agricultural businesses based around urban areas love them.
7.Reduces carbon footprint
Urban gardens can also dramatically decrease our carbon footprint if they’re geared towards producing vegetables. It is because they’re much fewer “food miles” when local produce is made. Most of the vegetables you see in our supermarkets are flown or sailed from overseas. Even if you were to develop it in high labor cost countries, you still wouldn’t beat the prices offered to our supermarkets.
However, apart from reducing the amount you contribute to “food miles,” you also won’t use as much packaging, or any at all. Local produce normally comes supplied as it is. Considering packaging is classed as one of the most destructive environmental pollutants that humanity has ever made, this benefit is great. Many people don’t understand how bad product packaging really is. So you know, over 20% of it is contributed to landfills, which is 30.5 million tons, to be exact. So, cutting down on this is a must, and having an urban garden can certainly help that.
We briefly mentioned above about pollinators and how people can become aware of the pollen crisis from being active in an urban garden. However, we didn’t detail how urban gardens can benefit pollinators and protect them.
For those who don’t know, pollen plays a vital role in many plants and vegetable development. Due to plants having large colorful blooms, they attract crucial pollinators like butterflies and bees into the environment. They feed off the nectar, but they trade the plants pollen while they’re gifted this resource. After the pollinator has transferred this, the plants or vegetables can then go on and develop seeds so they can reproduce.
The importance of pollinating insects is overwhelming. Approximately close to one-third of global crops rely on pollen as part of their reproduction process. From wiping out all pollinators, we’re also saying fair well to many adore plant species.
To decrease this occurring, many states, countries, and agencies worldwide develop urban gardens. From this, they can produce areas where these special creatures are completely protected from harmful chemicals and pests.
9.It improves the air quality
We’ve heard this time after time again, but it’s most definitely true. Wildlife, like plants, trees, weeds, all provide air quality benefits. They do this by breathing in carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas associated with global warming. From this, it cleans our air, and in theory, lowers the temperature of our planet.
After breathing in the carbon dioxide, plants give us one crucial resource back, which is oxygen. We’re aware, urban areas are known for their busy transport such as trains, motorcycles, cars, busses, trams, you name it, everything that produces harmful greenhouse gasses. Therefore, urban gardens can contribute to reducing the impact on our environment.
From the above, you can probably start to develop the idea that urban gardens can offer some immense benefits. But that isn’t all, and there’s much more…
10.Can increase property value
Many people are unaware that an urban garden of some sort can increase property value. Surprisingly, figures show that this rise is rather significant. According to Research Gate, urban farms and community gardens contributed to the rise of house prices in California. This increase was a whopping 9.4% within just five years after the establishment of the project.
This is a significant increase in the surrounding houses’ value and immensely beneficial for both our communities and the environment. From this, it shows that people are becoming more aware of these projects and want to live near them.
11.Can help those who are in poverty
Gardening and farming are completely sustainable and don’t require a lot of start-up cash, if any at all. Developing a vegetable patch can be as cheap or expensive as you like. Don’t get me wrong, a fancy watering system is great, but it isn’t needed.
Because of this, introducing community farmland in urban gardens, either by using abandoned land or houses, is ideal. From offering this, a poverty-ridden community can come together and sustainably provide themselves a better standard of living by producing their food.
12.Enhances health and well being
Apart from all of the above benefits, having access to urban gardens can give us various health and general well-being advantages. Here’s what they can offer:
Nutrition – Fruits and vegetables are part of a balanced diet, and the more you grow, the higher chance you’ll eat them. Because of this, by introducing an urban garden/farm into a community, people are able to “second think” about healthy eating and partake in it.
Exercise – As mentioned above, it can provide people a source of exercise. Nowadays, this isn’t easy, to say the least. From partaking in an activity like gardening, you can have fun, grow food, and gain some tremendous health benefits from exercise.
Mental health – It’s recommended that you go outdoors for at least 20 minutes a day to reduce many mental health issues. Apart from providing you a place to visit which is outside, you also have a location in which you’re able to collect your thoughts. Many people use gardening as a form of meditation because they’re able to evaluate their previous days and future.
Social – The gardening community is undoubtedly a strong one. From visiting these urban gardens, you’ll meet an abundance of different and unique people that all share the same passion. Apart from being social, meeting and interacting with new people is great for your mind. From this, you’re able to meet new friends, explore new activities, and talk about your past, present, and future.
As you can see from the above, there is an abundance of different benefits you can receive with urban gardens. The diverse amount of advantages is truly remarkable and something many urban-livers need to think about. Without a doubt, this type of gardening is going to become extremely regular. From more people migrating to cities each year, this type of gardening will have to take place in order to clean the air and provide the community with sufficient activities.
Now you understand how we and many others can benefit from this type of gardening, let’s speak about our environment as a whole. Below we talk about how urban gardens can provide our environment with many advantages.
How do urban gardens help the environment?
Above we’ve mentioned an array of different benefits that urban gardens can provide the community and us, but how do they help the environment we live in today? Below we discuss this.
Makes use of derelict places
There are many derelict buildings in urban areas due to overpricing rent and people not wanting to shop or live there anymore. Because of this, shops and huge apartment complexes are abandoned, leaving nothing but brickwork.
However, to revitalize these locations, urban gardens can be the solution. Without a doubt, they can bring life back to derelict buildings and start to get some value back into them. Many cities worldwide have started implementing this type of practice, and I can certainly see many other major cities following in their footsteps.
Surprisingly, it can also dramatically reduce the heat of an urban area. According to the EPA, when cities replace natural land with buildings, pavements, and roadways reduces the amount that earth can absorb heat. Because of this, nearly all urban places are increasingly hotter than many non-urban areas.
Of course, humans can only be subjected to a certain amount of heat, and to reduce the temperature, we use air conditioning units. This then uses electricity, which produces greenhouse gases, resulting in the entire earth’s temperature increasing.
As you’re able to see, it’s a never-ending cycle. But, one way we can reduce our temperature rising is by introducing more urban gardens to cities. This way, earthy organisms can inhale greenhouse gases while also absorbing the heat.
It looks appealing
Urban gardens can look astonishingly good. Plain skyscrapers, brick houses, and pathways don’t look extremely appealing. However, something that does is urban gardens. With an array of different plant species, they’re able to look colorful and unique, making anyone feel much better about their surroundings.
From this, it contributes to the well-being of the community. By being surrounded by an environment that you truly enjoy, makes people feel much better and motivated to start the day.
Provides a natural food source
Something that many cities have introduced isn’t urban gardens but urban farms. By providing this type of space in the community, allows them to produce their vegetables locally. This can be priceless for some communities and especially if they’re poverty-ridden.
Apart from offering a natural food source, it also dramatically reduces the number of harmful chemicals that is normally sprayed on our supermarket fruit and veg. From this, you’ll be producing something much more organic and tasteful.
Creates safe homes for pollinators
We briefly mentioned above how important pollen is to our plants and produce. By creating these safe havens, you’re able to offer them an extremely safe environment to breed and provide pollen. Introducing this type of gardening into our urban areas may reduce the possibility of losing pollen-related insects.
If this does ever occur, the results will be devastating as it’ll also wipe out an abundance of different plants and vegetables. They need pollen to reproduce, and pollen is only provided from these insects when they harvest nectar from the blooms.
From the above, you should grasp the idea that urban gardens can have a vast range of benefits to our environment. Undoubtedly, all are needed to offer us a healthier living in the future, and it’s something more major cities need to implement.
As you can see from the above, urban gardens can provide many benefits to both our cities and the environment. Some are more astronomical than others, but they’re all greatly needed for our urban areas.
Now you understand the basics of urban gardening and how they affect our cities, why not see if there’s one dotted around your community? You never know what you may find.