It’s hard to live in the city. It’s even harder to get space and grow a garden that you want. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can use urban gardening techniques to grow food even with the limited space that you have.
But should you even try to grow your own food? Is urban gardening worth the time and effort? Let’s look at the 10 incredible benefits that come from urban gardening and why you should give it a shot.
1. Learn a unique skill
People today have forgotten where their food comes from. We don’t know what it takes to grow healthy, nutritious food. Urban gardening helps you get educated about growing food. That’s a unique skill to have in today’s world.
You can educate your children about sustainable food and the health benefits. That’s something worth learning and teaching.
2. Grow food in a limited space
Urban gardening teaches you that you don’t need a lot of space to grow your own food. There are techniques like vertical gardening, container gardening, rooftop gardening, and hydroponic gardening that utilize space well.
Urban gardening helps you make the best use of space while growing all the food that you want.
3. Grow healthy food
There’s a lack of healthy food in today’s generation of fast foods and instant meals. These faster options may be convenient but they also put a serious dent on our health. Today’s generation faces widespread issues as a result, such as diabetes, blood pressure, and obesity due to unhealthy food.
Growing your own food means you grow healthy, nutritious food like fruits, vegetables, and herbs. These are low in cholesterol, high in fiber, and have beneficial vitamins and nutrients. Urban gardening is one of the best ways to get healthy, nutritious food for your family.
4. Reduce food insecurity
Around the world, urban areas face the constant issue of food deserts, or areas where healthy food is either not available or not affordable to the area’s residents. Urban gardening can help alleviate food desserts by providing people the opportunity to grow and harvest their own fresh and nutritious food at a fraction of what the same produce would otherwise cost in a grocery store.
5. Grow high-quality food
The problem with mass-produced food is that it is often loaded with chemicals and pesticides to increase production and shelf-life. With urban gardening, you don’t have to worry about this. You can grow organic food without such chemicals. You have control over the growing conditions and the water, soil, and compost you want to use.
You can choose to grow the unique heirloom varieties of food that are high-quality and delicious but may be susceptible to disease if mass-produced. You can pluck the fresh fruits and vegetables whenever they are ready for harvest, so you don’t need to worry about the shelf-life.
6. Grow food year-round
Urban gardening now has many options to help you grow food wherever you have space, such as with container gardening, hydroponic gardening, and rooftop gardening.
This means you can control the location where you grow the food, and worry less about environmental conditions like drought or cold weather.
You can choose what you want to grow, how you want to grow it, and where you want to grow. This helps you get the food that you want, when you want, without always depending on the seasons.
7. Grow sustainable food
Growing mass-produced food with traditional farming methods takes a lot out of the planet. Beyond the many resources that are used on the farm, the food then has to be transported from where it is grown to a store near you. That requires burning a lot of fuel. On average in the U.S., food is now transported between 1,500 and 2,500 miles to reach the consumer.
Urban gardening helps reduce the carbon footprint of the food system by reducing such fossil fuel consumption. It also makes far more efficient use of water. Hydroponic gardening uses around 90% less water than conventional farming.
8. Grow safe food
We know that mass-produced food has to be transported a long way to reach you. This increases the chances of contamination from bacteria and viruses such as salmonella.
With urban gardening, you grow food locally. You grow it with good soil, water, fertilizer. And you grow the food with care. This all helps improve the quality and safety of your food. Of course, it is also important to test your soil (if using) and other inputs before growing to ensure that your fresh food will be safe and delicious, and to practice basic food safety guidelines.
9. Build community
People who stay in urban areas have forgotten what it means to be part of a community. We tend to be isolated and independent which causes issues like depression, mistrust, and lack of happiness.
Urban gardening can help bring men, women, children, friends, families, and neighbors together for a common purpose. The purpose of growing sustainable food together. This also helps to reduce the disconnect we experience to where our food comes from. It also helps teach our children valuable lessons about nature, our food system, and sustainability.
10. Save money
It can be costly to live in the city. A large part of this cost is the expensive food that you need to buy. Healthy fruits and vegetables cost a lot more than junk food that is so readily available.
When you grow your own food, you can avoid this problem. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to get the healthy and nutritious fruits and vegetables that you need. If you’re able to grow a lot of food, you can even sell it to other people. This can help you set up a small business and make money. It can also create jobs for other people in your neighborhood.
Growing your own food doesn’t have to be hard, even if you live in the city. Urban gardening can help you grow your own fruits and vegetables in a sustainable way.
All you need to do is take that first step. Start learning about urban gardening and before you know it you’ll be harvesting your first crop.
Everyone deserves healthy, nutritious food. You do too.
About the author: Kevin Rodrigues is the founder of GardeningMentor. He’s also a software developer that wants to transition into a full-time gardener. Kevin plans to grow an organic garden that can help sustain his family. His love for gardening drives him to share tips, guides, and resources on his website.