Exploding populations in metropolitan areas throughout the world has increased the need for healthy, affordable fruits and vegetables. To combat hunger and improve the quality of foods eaten by urban dwellers, many are now participating in urban farming initiatives. These farmers are comprised of volunteer groups assisting those in need, businesses growing food for profit, neighborhood associations working together to provide locally grown food to all, and private citizens who want to take control of the foods they eat. Whatever the purpose, urban farming utilizes unused space to grow foods in a local area, which lowers the cost of food by eliminating transport, and gets food to consumers in the freshest state possible.
Urban farming can be set up in many different ways. A neighborhood might designate an entire city block for the community to use, with residents each being allotted a plot on which to grow the foods of their choice for their families. Alternatively, a space may be allocated to the neighborhood as a whole, and each resident will participate in the upkeep and maintenance. Then, the all the residents get a portion of each fruit or vegetable produced. Community gardens allow neighbors to work together and learn from one another.
Individuals without access to a community garden have other options as well. One is a rooftop garden. Many cities are encouraging the use of rooftops for this purpose as it makes use of previously unused space, and it's a convenient way for residents of apartment buildings to access a garden. Balconies and terraces are used in much the same manner, and some even create gardens in their kitchens.
Volunteer groups and businesses utilize whatever space they are able in order to grow and sell within the same area. Often, urban farming for profit entails growing food near a neighborhood, then setting up a farmer's market in the same area to sell food fresh off the vine. These farmer's markets may have all different sorts of vendors and sell foodstuffs from local groceries as well. Not only does this save money but it also has a positive environmental impact.
The trend toward eating organic foods and lessening the amount of genetically altered foods ingested is sure to popularize urban farming. The more people learn about healthy eating and the importance of maintaining proper nutrition, the more appealing it becomes to know where food has come from. Food allergy issues, pesticides, and genetic alterations can all be lessened by growing one's own food and watching it grow from seed to edible product.