March 17, 2008
Food- Small Scale Urban Agriculture
Why small scale urban agriculture?
At the center of the small scale urban agriculture movement is a growing community of artist-maker-activists. Rather than embracing a fear driven movement of food security and catastrophic climate change their work addresses a self-sufficiency because it fuels creativity, arms people with a sense of empowerment and strengthens communities.
During WWII 41% of all produce consumed in the US was produced in “victory gardens” which were encouraged individual efforts to help support the cause of the war.
In this same spirit Amy Franceschini, started Victory Gardens which calls for a more active role for cities in shaping agricultural and food policy. It is a concept currently in development with the city of San Francisco that would provide a subsidized home gardening program for individuals and neighborhoods. Offering tools, training and materials for urban dwellers to participate in a city-wide transformation of underutilized backyards.
Less CO2 emissions, neighborhood organizing, self reliance, seasonal growing, seed saving, art, action and independence from corporate food systems
In the same vain as Victory Gardens Fritz Haeg has started transformation of front yards rather than back ones.
Fritz is interested in singular gestures that become models --- small gestures in response to common issues that can be instituted by anyone in the world.
By putting the garden in the front for everyone to see he challenges others to question it’s relevance. He wants people to be unsettled with the gardens and then realize they can’t come up with a good argument against them.
Implementation in Other Cities:
The beauty of these projects is the adaptability. Both projects are meant as demonstration projects to show the utility and benefits of doing these things your self without the help necessarily of a city of large organization. It would be very easy for other cities to set up comprehensive websites or brochures demonstrating successful crops for the soil and weather conditions found local areas.
Also a strength of both of these as well is the demonstration of collaboration. Both projects focus on the creation of a community and the necessity of consulting and bringing in the expertise of others who know more about ecology perhaps than you, but demonstrates that it is completely feasible.
Metropolis Magazine March 2008 p. 174-179