In a previous article, I discussed the rise of urban agriculture, particularly in the context of Malaysia. While the imperative to adopt urban farming comes largely from global concerns like food security, there are still many compelling reasons why individually and on a family level, growing your own food is a smart choice. Here are some of the more obvious reasons why you should start getting your hands a bit familiar with the soil, beginning tomorrow:
The sad fact is that the produce you will buy at the market is likely to be laced with all sorts of fungicides, herbicides and pesticides. Numerous studies have shown that in terms of nutritional value, these market options don’t compare well to organic produce that is grown and harvested naturally. Genetic modified foods (GMOs) all have plenty of question marks over their nutritional claims.
Unfortunately, the market nowadays unfairly makes eating healthier organic food more accessible to higher income generators, while for the average Joe, it comes at a premium. The best way out of this trap is to simply take the time to grow your own organic food within your house or neighborhood, and try and take your health matters into your own hands. The time spent in nurturing those seeds into full grown veggies and fruits is certainly worth it when you consider how much you save on eating healthy.
Growing your own food can be hard work at times, but that sweat and toil is actually gold dust. In our sheltered urbanite lives, rarely do we venture out into the sunshine, soak some Vitamin D and get our muscles strained with shoveling dirt. Urban farming has that added advantage of allowing you to exercise a bit while getting familiar with the soil. Even the seemingly innocuous act of squatting or stretching to plant a seed is so much better for the body than all the sitting at the desk from 9 to 5.
The human mind can scarcely comprehend the amount of waste and resources that goes into shipping our food through a trans-Atlantic route into our groceries. The toll on the environment due to this grossly unbalanced economic system is unprecedented. You can play your part to mitigate this, at least on a personal level, but choosing to grow your own food. Even if you can’t cover your entire food palate, every little bit you grow at home leaves less of a carbon footprint.
This last point may seem a bit iffy, but once growing your own food becomes a passion and not a chore, it bears out. Urban farming is very often a community-oriented activity. Urban farmers often prefer to partner with those of likeminded interest rather than work in their own silos. They love exchanging stories, knowledge and tricks of the trade. Once their yield is abundant enough, they normally look to sell it to those around them first. The benefit they bring is shared around their most immediate networks.
These are only a few reasons to get digging; once you start, you can come up with your own. The point is that there is a wave coming soon of urban agriculture, and it is up to you to decide to be the one who rides the wave or who gets swept aside.