Sunday, June 26, 2011
Community Gardening Yeasayers and Naysayers
I regularly come across news items that either highlight the benefits of community gardening, are feel good stories about community gardening or are in some way negative about community gardening. Sometimes the news items make great counterpoints to each other like these.
I have been an advisor to Project Grow school gardening project at City as School H.S., an alternative public high school in lower Manhattan. For many years they had a garden and greenhouse in the entry plaza to the school. Last year, the greenhouse and garden had to be removed to make way for a renovation project to the school's facade. The school has no other usable space but currently they are gardening in a mini-farm at Battery Park. Some of the students created an interesting video about their project. Definitely Yeasayers. Please note that Battery Park is 25 acres of Parks Department parkland in Manhattan.
Another article I came across : "
"'we almost never get a request for' vegetable gardens.".
Urban farms do more harm than good to the environment". His argument is that more urban agriculture = lower population density= more driving= more energy use. I guess on the surface this argument makes sense except that no one is talking about depopulating cities in order to grow more food within city limits but rather utilizing unused spaces like vacant land and rooftops. I don't think that most cities will be able to grow a high proportion of the food they consume. The point is to grow as much as possible particularly items that provide high nutrition values using the most sustainable farming practices. Yes, I am a Yeasayer!