Urban Food Initiatives: Growing Communities through Sustainability

Cultivate, educate, and serve the community; these are the main goals of urban agriculture. Whether you have a green roof, are just growing in a small space, or are part of a co-op, urban food initiatives solutions can provide you and your community with providing local, healthy, and sustainable food options.

Demand Towards Sustainable Food Choices

Where I live in Denver, Colorado, there are over 100 community gardens, and that number continues to grow as neighborhoods shift their demand towards sustainable food choices. In Boulder – which is one of the most environmentally progressive cities in Colorado – there’s an organization called Growing Gardens that manages around 500 individual community garden plots in various locations throughout Boulder County.

According to Growing Gardens’ website, each individual is assisted by a resident Garden Leader who helps new gardeners manage Colorado’s dynamic seasons. The community garden provides tools and water for its members, and also hosts a variety of classes that not only help with gardening, but also integrate beekeeping and aquaponics in order to give participants a chance to create their own micro system.

Urban Food Initiatives

Locally sourced peppers and other vegetables in an urban farmer’s market. Image via Ingimage.

Community Garden Urban Food Initiatives

Joining a community garden typically costs $15 to $50 depending on the size of the plot and where it’s located. In order to yield a productive plot, new gardeners should focus on maintaining a rich soil that is high in organic matter, which can be done with an annual (or more frequent, depending on your environment) addition of compost or other organic materials.

There are definitely some rules associated with growing in a community garden, however. Plots are usually on a first-come, first-serve basis, and most places will have you put your name on a waiting list a growing season or two before you begin planting. Also, members of the garden who participated during the previous growing season tend to have first pick of the garden. As a member, you have to keep your garden planted, weeded, and composted according to your community garden’s specific regulations.

Potting soil, organic additives and other fertilizers range from about $10 to $40 depending on the amount and quality of the materials, but overall it’s relatively inexpensive and fairly simple to start a plot in a community garden.

Even if you lack the space or experience, growing your own food can be made easy and fun by joining local urban food initiative. Get out there and plant yourself some dinner!

Featured Image: Growth, nature, and communities. Image via Ingimage.com.

About The Author

Alyssa Harding
Alyssa is a recent graduate of the Environmental Science program at the University of Florida, and is currently employed by a non-profit which promotes environmental campaigns and ecological stewardship. An active volunteer for various organizations, she aims to promote environmental conservation and education in an effort to create a foundation for a sustainable future. Alyssa specializes in food science and natural resource economics, and ultimately has her sights set on grassland ecology and regionally appropriate agriculture in order to remedy the inequity that permeates our global food system.