Cultivating Sustainability

Urban agriculture: A hands-on approach to the food crisis

Living in an urban environment can often keep you from going outside and getting your hands dirty in the garden. Of course there are some possibilities, such as growing tomatoes on your balcony or having a banana plant in your living room. But in some cities you can take this a step further. A groundbreaking urban farming bill in San Francisco will enable residents to not only grow fruit and vegetables for their own use, but also to sell them to their neighbourhood restaurant.

San Francisco agriculture

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that on April 20, the mayor of San Francisco signed a bill that allows urban farmers to grow more fruit and vegetables than they would use for their own consumption. With this bill, the city has taken the lead in stretching the legal limits of urban farming; allowing San Francisco residents to sell their produce to local restaurants. The costs of the permits for converting empty lots to farmland were also lowered drastically. This law is in stark contrast to several other American states where people can be fined for growing too many vegetables.

Fairfood sees urban farming as a positive, community-building movement for people who want to take an active role in educating themselves about where their food comes from. This movement represents a desire for sustainable production and sourcing and dissatisfaction with problems in the global food industry. Brand owners should definitely see urban agriculture as a signal that they need to be active in improving the sustainability of their own supply chains. Hand-in hand with advocating sustainability in the food and beverage industry, this movement is a positive step towards a more sustainable plate.

Fairfood times six

The travelling Fairfood couple, Ruut and Maranka, from the 6x6x6 project, has participated in this sustainable farming initiative. During the 6x6x6 project, 6 teams travel to 6 different continents, each supporting one of 6 participating charities. The team supporting Fairfood has toured several different sustainable initiatives along the west coast of North America, from Alaska all the way down to Los Angeles. Last week, Ruut and Maranka helped plant and harvest crops at an urban farm in Hayes Valley, San Francisco.

For more information on the adventures of Ruut and Maranka and the 6x6x6 project, see our special 6x6x6 blog: http://www.fairfood.org/6x6x6/

Annemiek Oosterhuis is a copywriter for Fairfood International.