“U” is for Urban Planning

Urban planning—incorporating ways to grow produce within a city infrastructure—is the solution to city living and farm-fresh eating, and it’s taking the world by storm. (Our World)

Just in the past few years, our country has become very aware of what food we eat and where that food comes from. We want healthier foods, fresher foods, and local foods. But sometimes, in the middle of a huge metropolitan area, that can feel impossible.

Urban planning integrates gardens and other ways to grow fresh produce in a way that is symbiotic with both buildings and people. (APA)

What are some examples of urban planning?

  • Community Gardens: Across the country, unused plots of land, rooftops, and even vacant homes have been converted into community-accessible gardens. In community gardens, it is the collective’s responsibility to plant and tend to crops, as well as benefit from the produce. It doesn’t get more local than your own plot of land.
  • Edible Landscapes: Architects are developing new ways to fold in crops into our everyday lives, such as adding fruit-bearing trees to sidewalks, or mounting food-producing systems onto the side of buildings.
  • New Zoning Laws: Cities are changing their zoning laws to more easily accommodate urban agriculture, including new regulations for community gardens, rooftop gardens, greenhouses, and backyard gardens.
  • Urban Farms: Compact lots of land have been converted into urban farms where crops are planted in tiers to maximize every inch of useable space.

(Urban Land)

The benefits or urban agriculture and planning are numerous, from minimizing the output of fossil fuels when trucks no longer have to transport produce across the country, to invigorating a community to work together towards a common goal. Urban planning isn’t just good for the body; it’s good for the collective whole.

A few cities in the US are already being noticed for their strides in urban planning, like our own Austin, TX (Seed Stock). The University of Houston Downtown campus has even begun a track specific to urban agriculture and planning.