Commentary: Urban farming topic strikes a chord
Conventional agriculture also feeds the hungry, teaches urban populations and children where food comes from. For example, the Mid America Crop Life Association has an Ambassador Program where people who work in agriculture volunteer their time to go into classrooms and teach children where food comes from. The idea that only urban farmers, organic farmers or local farmers can teach about agriculture is absurd.
5. Traditional agriculture promotes and perpetuates the problems of our food system.
That issue is a matter of perspective. Thanks to advances in modern, conventional agriculture, this country has not seen a return to the Dust Bowl in a year of significant drought that is comparable to the 1930s. Yes, this country has experienced significant drought, but there have not been reports of dust storms destroying fertile croplands like in the 1930s. That is due to improved efforts of farming including conservation methods that protect the soil and create wind breaks, to name a couple.
6. Urban farming allows people to have control or engage in one’s food and health system. People have a right to grow their own food independently.
Conventional farming allows farmers to control their own food. Many conventional farmers will tell you how proud they are to grow food. No one is claiming to take away anyone’s right or ability to grow a garden. Like many things in this country, it is everyone’s responsibility to choose the best foods for themselves.
7. Unique and alternative approaches to growing food should be celebrated and lauded. Conventional methods are old, environmentally unfriendly and totally uncool.
The idea that conventional agriculture is suddenly uncool is untrue. Just take a look at the two YouTube videos posted this summer by young farmers. The first video, “I’m Farming and I Grow It,” was a parody of “I’m Sexy and I Know It.” Those three brothers’ video received more than 6.5 million views and made the mainstream media circuit including “Good Morning, America!” The second video, “Farm It Maybe” has received more than 694,000 views. These young farmers have captured the spirit of farming life in a cool, unique and fun way that also has crossed over in appeal to mainstream America.
8. World War II Victory Gardens produced more than 40 percent of people’s food at the time. Urban farming is economical.
Similar to Russia’s family farms, World War II Victory Gardens were out of necessity during a time when food was scarce due to war. Agriculture is in the business of looking forward. A return to old style methods and ideologies seems backwards and counterproductive. However, home gardens can and do provide an alternative food source during the summer and early fall months. Urban farming is a poor substitute for food during the winter months, which many pro-urban farming proponents seem to neglect mentioning.