Most people instantly connect feeding the world and huge expanses of land to support the needed crops. This leads them to quickly discount the theory that the world can actually feed itself if goes about it properly. The notion that you need a degree in agriculture, huge tractors and complex farm equipment, along with hundreds of thousands of acres of open land to make this happen is all wrong. The reason disbelief is the first reaction to things like urban farming and small plot gardening could conquer the ever increasing problems with our food supply is that everyone has been conditioned for several generations that there is only one way to feed us all.
What they don’t know is that 1/3 of the food grown in the United States is wasted. So in reality, it would take far less land and energy input to feed the world than is in use right now under traditional agricultural methods. Like anything else, the way things are done and the tools or materials used to do things changes over time. Why? Better knowledge, more efficiency, improved results, increased output, less damaging or toxic, and a variety of other reasons causes all manner of things and methods to become obsolete at some point in time.
While more and more people get into the grow your own food groove every spring, there are many more that continue to buy everything they eat from the store. For some it’s because they’re just too busy to add tending crops to their hectic schedule. For others it’s because they don’t realize that they can grow food even in very little space outdoors or inside. And then there are those who have the idea that they simply have a brown thumb because they’ve managed to kill every plant they’ve ever tried to grow. For the green thumb in an urban or suburban area, planting and tending the garden for those who cannot presents them with an opportunity to become a contract farmer of sorts, like an edible landscaper. You simply manage a multitude of micro crops all over your community, instead of cutting grass, pulling weeds and planting flowers… all wasteful uses of arable soil and productive land.
There are those who look at their dismal financial situation and decide that they just don’t have the funds to get a garden going – that becoming an urban farmer is simply out of the question. But in downtown Dublin there are two guys who were faced with moving far away for getting a new job, or figuring out how they were going to make an income right where they were. So with almost no funding at all they planted crops in recycled containers on the roof of a vacant building. That was about 3 years ago. Now they also have aquaponics going on one floor inside the building, they contract grow the world’s largest potato variety collection for a local specialty restaurant, and grow tons of other fruits and vegetable that sells right there in the neighborhood.
It’s not that we don’t know how to feed the world. It’s realizing that the roadblocks to doing so are assumed or orchestrated. Even when you only grow food for yourself and family, there will be times when you have more than you know what to do with. Fresh food that others around you would gladly purchase to enjoy. In some places you can trade you’re sudden mountain of lettuce for someone else’s overload, like eggs and radishes to make that salad of yours even better.
Micro farming and urban gardening whether done outdoors on indoors can feed a lot more people than most people realize. There are plenty of people proving that in North America, and other locations around the world. If more people in every region, city, or town just got started conquering the seemingly overwhelming problem of feeding the entire population of the planet would be seen as doable.
The first step is to embrace and get involved in change. Pick up a shovel, clear out a closet and make it happen. You learned how to walk. You learned how to drive. You learned some important skills, but no skill will ever be as important as how to feed yourself.
Farmscape is just one of the first businesses established that provided contract urban farming services. Look around. You’ll find there are farmers for hire who will help you grow your food on your own property, balcony, and even in your private grow room in many cities across North America. It’s not that strange. There are contract farmers in large scale agriculture, and have been for quite some time.
If you don't find her at the desk - check the gardens. When not writing and weeding, she enjoys a good book, painting junk furniture, and blending the harvest of heirloom tomatoes and chiles into salsas.