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The Sweet Pursuit

Former Associate editor Margret Aldrich on the hunt for happiness, community, and how humans thrive

Falling Hard for Urban Farming


“Why would someone spend their limited leisure time shoveling horse-shit into a compost pile?” wonders Jason Mark, co-manager at San Francisco’s Alemany Farm, which hosts community workdays twice a week.

More and more, people are clamoring to join in the urban farming movement and get their hands dirty. There’s no doubt that urban gardening has graduated from fledgling trend to part of our cultural landscape, with vegetable gardens taking root everywhere from tiny backyards, to college campuses, to the White House grounds, to fire-escape terraces. Writing for Gastronomica, Mark lays out the motivations behind the movement and why public participation continues to rise:

Mark points to several specific, personal benefits of urban gardening. First, of course, there’s the food. (Who can’t appreciate the crunch of a Mokum carrot or the beauty in a row of ruffle-leaved lettuces?) But behind this real food lies the honest labor that results in real satisfaction, another key reward. Mark writes:

Cultivating farmland where we can provides other simple gifts, too: an artistic outlet, an escape from a self-absorbed society, and a much-needed reconnection with nature—no matter how urban it might be. Mark says this of his beloved, if not bucolic, Alemany Farm:

Source: Gastronomica (article not available online) 

Image by clayworkshop, licensed under Creative Commons.