Urban Gardening

Those of us who live in larger cities value the diverse culture, the big-time arts and sports, the good job market, the easy travel access, and the many other lifestyle options city living provides. Among those aspects you don’t hear as often: the gardening. The fact is, you don’t have to live in Green Acres to raise a rich, plentiful, even income-generating (yes, you read that right) garden. Check out this video of the Dervaes family and their quest to live close to their 1/5 of an acre of land.

And this local news coverage of the family and their garden:

Now that’s motivation and ingenuity. Let’s just say their example is both humbling and inspiring to those of us who celebrate getting young berry bushes through the winter. Most of us can’t imagine what it would mean to grow even a fraction of our own food let alone enough to feed our families and the restaurant down the block. Four hundred food items! Now that’s veggie and fruit diversity!

While the Dervaes family is truly exceptional, urban gardens (popular for decades in Europe) are taking off in a number of American cities these days. Urban singles and families appreciate the simple enjoyment of the pastime as well as the budget-sparing fruits of their labors. City governments, on the other hand, value the “greening” and beautification of city lots as well as the increased social investment gardening residents make in their urban neighborhoods.

And the benefits don’t end there. A study published in this month’s Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that, among 766 surveyed adults in Flint, Michigan, those who participated in community gardens “consumed fruits and vegetables 1.4 more times per day than those who did not participate, and they were 3.5 times more likely to consume fruits and vegetables at least 5 times daily.”

Not only do urban gardens offer the chance and incentive for better dietary health, we’d argue they offer other health advantages as well, especially for young urban seedlings, who, as we shared last week, stand to benefit from the time outdoors.

For more information on the Dervaes family and their project, check out their website, Path to Freedom. You can find their online journal, Little Homestead in the City.

And send us your thoughts, experiences and tips for urban (or rural/suburban!) gardening.

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