After writing my last post I realized I was already trapped in the “give me give me give me” mind set and was neglecting what it is that urban arming can offer in return.  Realistically, for everything that urban farmers ask for they need to be able to give something in return.

So when it comes to land, what do urban farmers have to offer?

  • Stewardship
    • Urban Farming is a strong complement to other initiatives to improve the livability of cities.  Most notably is the move away from lawns and pesticides in the urban environment.
    • Urban farms pose an opportunity to improve urban ecosystems by making them more diverse, more dynamic, and more productive.  This dynamism can improve soil and encourage wildlife in the city.
    • However, unless standards are followed, urban farming does not necessarily mean organic farming.  My experience is that most urban farms also embrace organic principles, but this is not required.
    • The issue of urban farming standards will surely be contentious, but standards would help substantiate urban farming and, hopefully, create more stability for urban farmers.
  • Aesthetics
    • Urban farming has more aesthetic requirements than rural farming, adding an important dimension to the urban farmer’s responsibilities.
    • Maintaining an appealing appearance in the city is important for urban farmers’ success.  Poorly kept farm yards or other urban growing space are targets for those not in support of urban agriculture.  They are also targets for neighbours who see poorly kept yards as a detriment to their neighbourhood.
  • Regeneration
    • Urban farming can improve neglected public and private space in the city and can add to diverse landscapes which make cities interesting.

That’s some rambling for today.  I may edit this posting as more ideas come.