When it comes to healthy and sustainable food, we are always thinking about how to avoid pesticides and chemicals products in our fruits and vegetables. We also think about the environmental cost of buying products coming from the other side of the world. But what can we do? We do not control the way our food is grown and around 75% of Europeans live in urban areas. The cities are, since the industrial revolution, mostly cut from nature and not at all food self-sufficient. One advice that you can always find when it comes to eating healthy food is to grow your own food. But how do we do when we mostly live in cities?
In fact, there are many things you can try to do to eat healthy and sustainable food, even if living in an urban area. You can grow your own food, it is called urban gardening, or you can let other people grow the food for you, next to you, and buy from them, in urban farms.
First, let’s speak a bit about urban gardening. If you live in an urban area with a piece of land, it is easy. You can begin with a small garden and see how it goes. For those who do not have this chance, it is always possible to plant in a terrace, balcony, a window box or even inside or in the roof. Of course, dependently of the space you have, you will not be able to grow the same quantity of food. But you can still grow in small proportions and have something fresh to cook. The FAO reported that 800 million people worldwide grow vegetables or fruits or raise animals in cities.
So if you have a bit of space, you can still try to grow some fruits, vegetables or even herbs. You will find lot of advices on the internet on how to do it and even some inventions to help you growing this food inside. If you still prefer to do some gardening outside, you can find some shared or community gardens in your city. You can find garden locations here: http://www.urbanfarming.org/garden-locations.html.
It is an easy way to have fresh food, to save money and with a positive environmental impact. Besides, it is proven that gardening and spending time in green spaces have a positive impact on physical and mental health, reducing stress and diseases.
If you do not have time to do some gardening or are not interested so much in it but still would like to eat fresh local products, you can buy them into urban farms. These are places where people grow food in the city and sell it to individuals, restaurants, shops… It gives you the opportunity to buy food produced locally and so, with minimum transportation and refrigeration. You can also find in season products, most of the time organic or at least with less pesticides than in other places because you have less insects in cities. It is sustainable for people and the planet, and good for food security. Also, when food goes straight from the farm to the consumer, it creates less food waste.
Creating green spaces in cities is always a good idea as it helps to cool down the heat, offers shadowing spaces in summer time and absorbs carbon, which is helping in fighting climate change.
If it can offer us good food at the same time, it seems to be only advantages. These different opportunities are all coming under the name of urban agriculture and try to bring people closer from what they eat.
So why not green up your life with a bit of gardening?
by Amelys Erard