Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Urban Farming - Turning Our Cities Into Organic Farms?

I recently ran across the idea of Urban Farming - see http://www.urbanfarming.org - and here is what I wrote for their newsletter:

I am mainly concerned with Gary, Indiana here. Chicago is already doing many rooftop gardens and urban farming would be a natural there. Mayor daley is pushing to make Chicago the greenest city anywhere if he can.

Gary, however, has been devastated with the loss of the steel mills and heavy industry and still hasn't recovered at all. Property prices are depressed in the area and have remained so even through the recent real estate pressure cooker in the rest of the nation. Gary's youth are facing extreme difficulty finding decent jobs close to home, and so are working age adults in Gary.

Urban farming could actually transform Gary's whole economy if it really caught on there. It would be operating in a near-vacuum with a lot of out of work people with nothing better to do having time on their hands and probably a lot of unused urban/suburban space to work with.
I think if your organization could make a successful visionary pitch to the city government in Gary, it could be a real win-win-win situation for the local politicos, the urban farming movement as a whole, and most of all, for the residents of Gary.

I was reading about urban farming in E - The Environmental Magazine, and reading about Gary in the Chicago Tribune. Suddenly a picture of a revitalized post-industrial city with a flourishing URBAN & SUBURBAN agrarian economy struck me as quite possible. Especially considering that Gary is in close proximity to Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, Indianapolis, and Madison, WI. (Madison is extremely progressive with lots of farmers' markets and community garden plots, this would hit there very well also.)

This has real possibilities - I am going to post it on my blog. the Great Lakes Zephyr - Wind Energy & Hydrogen Journal at http://www.whizzyrds.com/Windblog.html -

I really hope your organization can take this idea and give it a little bit of push some how.

Rev. Dan Stafford