Urban gardening, urban farming and urban agriculture can be loosely defined as growing or farming that takes place in and around cities and towns, in urban areas and each one is a bit of a general term with a definition that can vary and overlap depending on the individual situation.
For example, it can be used to refer to a household keeping a fruit or vegetable garden in a patch on their front lawn.
This is very common in some places, especially in areas where farm fresh produce is hard to come by or known to be contaminated with harmful chemicals like pesticides.
One of the most common motivations behind urban gardening is the absence of a reasonable choice. Residents that live in an area as described above and want fresh fruits and/or vegetables without any contaminants might be forced to grow their own.
As difficult as it might sound, these types of gardens are often surprisingly low maintenance and some popular garden crops like tomatoes and potatoes require very little intervention to grow and thrive.
Regular watering will usually do the trick and the experience of growing one’s own food (even if it’s only one part of your diet) can be very rewarding.
The sense of accomplishment that comes from raising your own urban garden, coupled with the ready availability of fresh farm produce in an area where such things might be seen as a luxury makes this type of urban gardening (and should be referred to as such) a popular hobby among millions of Americans.
Confusingly, the term can also refer to larger scale operations like full size greenhouses or gardens in the middle of a city (sometimes in odd places like rooftops of buildings where there’s maximum sunlight).
Some even keep animals and it is these types of growing areas that are or should be referenced as urban farming and urban agriculture. These facilities serve a much greater purpose than the home gardens we discussed earlier.
Depending on the crops grown, they might provide an urban area with flowers, a local supply of farm produce, or might be an ecological initiative by city authorities to clean up the environment.
Plants help filter some of the harmful toxins created by industry out of the air resulting in a healthier environment for everyone.
Most variations of urban gardening also provide other indirect environmental benefits. For example, transport of agricultural products from rural areas to urban areas is often done by large vehicles (tractors, trailers, etc) that give off harmful emissions as they go.
Cultivating some of a city’s farm produce needs locally would significantly reduce these emissions and act as an environmentally responsible way of keeping food costs down since transportation costs would not need to be added to cost of those items in local stores.
In today’s increasingly industrialized world, our urban areas are becoming more and more toxic as pollution takes its toll on almost everything.
Air pollution in particular has many negative effects including compromised public health caused by phenomena and damage to property such as acid rain.
Whichever title we choose, urban gardening, urban farming or urban agriculture, they are all without doubt some of the ways that we can all make a real difference by putting nature’s own solutions to the pollution problem back into the areas that need them most.