Almost all suburban and some urban home have yards. While growing vegetables in the front yard might be possible, your homeowners association might have a problem with it. However, there are no restrictions with growing vegetables in your backyard as long as you are willing to give your green thumb a shot.
But why grow vegetables? Why should you bother growing vegetables, when you can drive to the grocery store and get some fresh produce or simply order online from the comfort of your couch.
We all must wonder: how does produce get from the farm to fork? From store to your plate is the only fact most of the urban population understands, majority of the people aren’t interested in finding more about it. They either don’t care, are too ignorant or are fearful of reality and the possible disruption to their way of life.
Let us discuss some facts that we can relate to, and understand the challenges we face today and will face in the future. Only if we acknowledge the problem, we can find an effective solution using the yard space, a privilege that many of us have.
Fact #1: Growing waist size
Obesity is generally associated with overconsumption of food. While this might be true in food-secure households, it has been found that intake of high calorie, energy dense, and low quality food is the main reason in food-insecure households. Child obesity, life style diseases like diabetes, blood pressure, and stress are on a rapid rise in the United States and in all developed nations. Some of the developing countries like India & China are also facing similar issues. There might not be one single reason for this, but lifestyle & eating habits are a major component.
Fact #2: Rapid urbanization
According to the U.S. Census Bureau 80.7 percent of the U.S. population lived in urban areas as of the 2010 Census. While urban growth improves the quality of life, and makes modern services and amenities accessible to everyone, it also raises significant challenges for urban planning.
“Explosive growth of cities globally signifies the demographic transition from rural to urban, and is associated with shifts from an agriculture-based economy to mass industry, technology, and service. For the first time ever, the majority of the world’s population lives in a city, and this proportion continues to grow. ” (databank.worldbank.org)
Fact #3: The food transportation challenge
“The world population increased from 3 billion in 1959 to 6 billion by 1999, a doubling that occurred over 40 years. The Census Bureau’s latest projections imply that population growth will continue into the 21st century, although more slowly. The world population is projected to grow from 6 billion in 1999 to 9 billion by 2044, an increase of 50 percent that is expected to require 45 years.” (Census.gov)
Housing and other amenities will engulf our villages, causing them to grow into towns and cities. We are transforming agrarian land into non-productive urbanized colonies. Transportation costs, storage, and food waste are growing as we eliminate our agronomical land and inadvertently decrease the availability of fresh food. This is rapidly pushing our farmlands further away, increasing the distance between farm to fork.