Hip-Hop Beats and Green Retreats: How Urban Gardening Is Changing the Game

In many urban areas, wherever space is available, you may soon see gardens popping up. While pretty, these aren’t flower gardens we’re talking about. Rooftops, backyards, balconies, vacant lots, and community parks are filling with vegetable gardens. These gardens, located in the least likely of places, have made a big impact on many lives—sometimes in surprising ways.

Access to Food
Lower-income areas have long struggled to access healthy foods, especially in urban areas. While convenience stores and grocery stores are readily available, nutritious food in these markets is often more expensive than sugary, processed, ready-made meals. By growing vegetables in urban areas, access to healthy food is increased. In fact, urban gardening has the potential to provide up to 10% of the world’s vegetables. For those in cities with low access to healthy food, this could be a game changer.

Teaches Self-Reliance
With greater access to food comes lower reliance on outside sources for survival, such as expensive stores and DTC meal kits like Home Chef and Hello Fresh. With some training and education, nearly anyone with access to even a small amount of outdoor space an begin to grow food for themselves, their families, and their communities. The ability to grow surplus may also offer the opportunity to make additional money through sales, whether as a small-time supplier to local shops or as a vendor at regional farmers markets. This access to increased income provides the opportunity for even greater self-reliance.

Builds Stronger Communities
When communities work together to solve food shortage problems through urban gardening, they meet each other, get to know their neighbors, and weave a stronger community fabric than before. This stronger fabric means that neighbors watch out for each other; children learn valuable agriculture, nutrition, and business lessons; teens have a social outlet and community support that focuses their time and abilities on constructive activities; and adults feel a sense of accomplishment and pride when they better provide for their families and friends.

Brightens Urban Futures
Within the urban farming community in most areas, you’ll find a tight-knit group of people who express hope for their future. That hope is conveyed through various outlets, when you know to look for it—usually in a nearby artistic community. Song, dance, visual art, and written word often include the feelings of community, shared accomplishment, and, yes, hope for a brighter future in their city.

And hope is something we all need right now, whether in cities or rural areas. If you’d like to explore the option of starting an urban garden in your community, several resources are available from the USDA, including grants, partnerships, and educational materials.

Beats, Beds & Browns is an Ag Advocacy Brand focused on educating people on how to eat healthy, sustainably, and inexpensively. Start your gardening journey today, and grab your free seed kit. You can listen to our thoughts via our video podcast on YouTube and/or your streaming venue of choice. Follow our progress on your social media of choice at #100kin10yrs or directly via @beatsbedsbrowns 

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