The potential benefits of growing and/or raising your own food has been seen to have a cumulative effect as well. And people are beginning to realize it. With food production shifting to the individual, time and money are saved, health is gained, and a deeper connection to nature and food sources is seen. It can mean less trips to the store, less money spent on food, more time outdoors, a healthier diet, and an overall sense of well-being that can come from the satisfaction of making something for yourself and loved ones. Picking up on this trend are a couple of local companies catering to those who may not have the time or knowledge to really get their hands dirty when it comes to growing their own food.
A local startup, Seattle MicroFarm is focusing on raised vegetable beds as a way to tackle the challenges of farming in an urban setting. According to their website, raised vegetable beds can offer a number of advantages over traditional in the ground methods such as "twice the production per square foot, improved soil structure, easier pest control, improved drainage, increased soil temperatures, and a longer growing season." The owners have also noticed the massive carbon impact constantly shipping food into cities can have. "There are currently 3,427,000 people living in the Seattle metropolitan area. If each person comsumes an average of two lbs of food per day, and no food is produced within the city, then 6,854,000 lbs of food must be trucked or flown into the city each and every day."
Another local company, Seattle Urban Farm, was founded in 2007 and offers a wider array of options for those interested in utilizing their unused space for food production. In addition to raised beds they also have consulting services, traditional in ground methods for all types of vegetables and herbs, and will even set up a chicken coop with as many as three (as allowed by the city) egg laying hens. Their goal it seems, is to make urban farming not only plausible but accessible to all who may have an interest in the health of their community and themselves. As stated on their website, "We believe that an urban farm can help foster a connection to our food, environment and community."
Whether you do it yourself and have been for years, hire the experts, or even decide to give it a go for the first time on your own, there's no doubt that localized urban farming can help to be a solution for the problems facing our home and communities.