Yes, we need more dirt!

Yes, we need more dirt!

I want a farm on my rooftop, too. The Sierra Club magazine recently reviewed two competing philosophies – high-tech hydroponics and good old-fashioned dirt, in the middle of New York City. I’m with the dirt guy. I’m happy to see that Seattle has some, too.

May I please also get a dog park up there?

Anyway, I thought the two articles about urban farming in Detroit were fascinating. I’m still not sure what to think of that guy – whether he’s land-grabbing or innovating. I do know that I agree with him – we need solutions. When I worked at a social service agency in Chicago, we had a food pantry where we provided free groceries for our clients. We had boxes and boxes of corn grits and powdered milk – almost no one wanted them, they wanted strawberries and other fresher stuff, some of which I’ve been able to grow on my own little apartment balcony (sugar snap peas are also really easy to grow). Our country produces so much corn and other subsidized food that we had to compel our clients to lug this stuff home on the bus, and probably throw in their trash for the garbage trucks to deliver to the landfill. UGH.

It wasn’t all frustrating, though. Just down the street, while I was still working there, a new urban farm was started, serving primarily low-income residents. Maybe if the profit farm idea in Detroit doesn’t work out, at least the situation will spark more movement in this area.

The Chicago Lights Urban Farm in downtown Chicago.


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