Doesn’t Necessarily Take a Village

The concept of growing a garden within the four walls of your abode are romantic, to be sure.  To feed yourself and the people around you with produce you raised yourself.  No risk of rogue pesticides or bacteria outbreaks.  The dream sounds especially good to those who have lived an entirely urban life, to see your food grow and know exactly where it came from. However, if this is the future of urban life and sustainability, I believe first and foremost the city folk need to be trained.

I, by no means, am farm-raised but I did grow up in an agricultural community and both sides of my family have only recently stopped farming so I didn’t feel uncomfortable getting intimate with the process of planting and caring for plants.  Besides that I have a personal interest in sprouting plants/an affinity for the cuteness of a fresh sprout.  Although it might seem like this would make me a suitable leader for the class, my personality is not necessarily suited to the task of guiding greenhorn students.

A whole lot of people with good intentions isn’t necessarily the best solution either.  If the future needs our generation to stick our hands in the dirt, there’s got to be a system that keeps us from playing in the mud too.  Common sense can only take you so far in deciding when to water your plants but it can’t replace the knowledge that a sprout should remain short for a while so that it doesn’t waste energy stretching.

What I mean to say by all this is that urban farming takes a level of pre-emptive planning that city dwellers aren’t necessarily used to.  You can’t grow a yam in a couple inches of soil.  I think if this is a valid plan for our future, we need to be tempered for the long-term thought that goes into growing food.  Perhaps beginning with the children of today who would need these skills in the future.

-Matthew Patel

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