The following article is an original from Jay North, author of Getting Started in Organic Gardening for Fun and Profit. The book is available at www.OneGlobePress.com & www.GoingOrganic.com. A portion of the proceeds are donated to Oprah's Angel Network at www.Oprah.com Please visit One Globe Press or Going Organic today and download your PDF copy. Free Article Released for publication and distribution 10/May/2010 Jay North & One Globe Press.
At a time when cities worldwide are growing and urban population is exploding, there is an increased need for locally grown produce. On 03/Jan/2010, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization declared that feeding billions of urban dwellers will necessitate small micro farms in large urban areas. Urban farmers are already feeding over 700,000 people in the world, and many organizations speculate that this number will grow by 60% by the year 2030.
Urban farming involves using small plots of land to grow produce in densely populated areas. Small vacant lots, large undeveloped fields, backyards, and rooftops are used to produce crops for local consumption. The farms can take many forms. Just one case in point is a small backyard farm just outside of New York City that produces three hundred pounds of tomatoes per month during its season. There are numerous examples like this worldwide that utilize small plots of land to produce livestock, milk, eggs, and a variety of fresh produce.
Poverty Rates Continue to Climb
Poverty rates throughout the world including the USA are on the increase. In some developing countries such as India, several South American countries, and Asia people spend 60% of their income on food. As fight against poverty, a church in Oxnard, California is producing organic vegetable crops as free food for the poor and the homeless. Problems of poverty are being solved in many California cities by actively engaging people to get involved in the production (farming) of the crops to raise funds as a crop share collective. This has been a very successful action on part of one farm outside of Berkeley, CA. Its coordinator Jerold Peters said, "We never expected the response and activism we are getting. We are delighted with the result. It has meant cash income for the participants and healthier diets in their homes".
As it has been well reported over the past three decades, continued development in large urban areas has led to higher fat diets and heavy consumption of fast foods. With the advent of new small farms starting up in rural areas throughout the world, many lives are being changed simply by having access to a healthier diet. According to the CDC, "having access to high quality vegetables is essential to people's well-being and productivity levels at work." The value of a proper diet has recently been recognized by the snack and beverage companies who are pulling all sugar-based products from school delivery and replacing sweets with fresh fruits and vegetables. "This will ultimately mean better education of our children," said the Los Angeles Board of Education.
Back-to-Roots Farmers in Rural Areas throughout the USA are jumping on the Band Wagon
In states like California, Oregon, Washington, New York and Montana, there has been over three thousand new small farm start ups in just the last decade. Many of the new farms are located in or near highly populated areas, and the produce from these farms are sold locally at farmers markets or road- side stands. Many CSAs (short for Community Supported Agriculture) have sprouted up where they deliver a basket of fresh produce and eggs directly to their members for a set price either twice or four times a month; the price that is set for the basket is typically greatly reduced from the price that would be paid at the supermarket.
As an example of successful farming
The Amish in North America have been self-sufficient farmers since they arrived here in America. Their success is matched by only the Hopi Indians who have been self-sufficient farmers for 14,000 years, devoting themselves to the land and community, with farming as their way of self-reliance and survival.
Corporate America Wants In
It's even happening with corporate America where food chains are seeking to purchase fresh and local produce; one example is Chipotle Mexican Grill who buys directly from local farms near the chain restaurants. Another is the Vons / Safeway
Chain markets who buy local. Many new farmers are finding ways into this market worldwide using FED EX and UPS as their delivery agents.
Children Get Actively Involved
Schools throughout California now offer not only horticultural classes but organic farming classes as well. As a case in point, a joint middle school and high school in Ventura, California has an acre plot of land used by the students to grow homegrown, healthful crops. The program has proved so successful that there is now a waiting list to participate in the class / garden.
Young people in America have stood by and witnessed the fall of the economy and are choosing in unprecedented numbers to opt out of the system and return to what their grandparents did. They are choosing self-sufficiency. For example, a multitude of young people ask to become involved with The Farmer and the Cook in Ojai CA, who not only grow their own organic produce but also market that produce through their own store and restaurant while employing young people who want to be actively involved in creating change and getting their hands dirty at the same time.
For Young People and Adults Alike
The number of co-operative farms or communal farms popping up throughout the county is also unprecedented. As once was only the effort of a few hippie enclaves, there are now hundreds of intentional living farms throughout the USA, South America, Europe, Israel, and India. These farms are set up to not only provide for their members, but to also sell homegrown produce to the local residents in their communities. As the last count on a trip north in California, this writer stumbled upon 160 such farms.
As the economy continues to be in question, the number of intentional living communes continues to grow. These farms are working farms where both the parents and the children can take active participation in the survival of their community and co-operative living.
National and International Recognition
If Mrs. Obama is any example of lifestyle to Americans or citizens of the world, the installation of the Victory Garden on the White House lawn is meant to inspire people to become more self-sufficient. In Tanzania near the city of Dares s Salaam, there are 1,600 acres devoted to farmers, farming for local consumption on land given away by the Tanzanian government.
What is Apparent
As the world's population continues to grow, so does the requirement for healthful foods. China and corporate Monsanto have recognized global food needs in the next 100 years; they are buying up farm land all over the world for big production. While their efforts may earn them millions of greenback dollars, the need for local home-raised products will continue to grow as well.
But the New Urban Farmer Needs Education
Many would-be farmers are on the diving board of leaving corporate America and jumping into natural lifestyles need to arm themselves with three things: 1) desire, 2) learn all you can about growing fruits and vegetables or raising farm animals or fish, and 3) find out all you can about developing your market or customers.
Growing a plant or raising an animal can be fun, easy, and a joyous thing. The work can be made nearly effortless with some simple knowledge of standard practices. But, many would-be green thumbs will do well to get out the good old textbooks on marketing - if one intends on making a living at a newly chosen profession and lifestyle, you will need to how to sell your products. Small farming does not preclude the necessity for cash, and earning a living from your good works still remains a main focal point.
Jay North, author of Getting Started in Organic Gardening for Fun and Profit, The Windowsill Organic Gardener, Guide to Cooking with Edible Flowers and Grow Yourself Rich, is an internationally recognized expert in organic gardening and farming. In addition to being a writer, Jay works as a consultant for growers and does organic farm installations nationwide in the USA. Reach Jay though his website www.GoingOrganic.com
The proceeding article is an original from Jay North, author of Getting Started in Organic Gardening for Fun and Profit. The book is available at www.OneGlobePress.com & www.GoingOrganic.com. A portion of the proceeds are donated to Oprah's Angel Network at www.Oprah.com Please visit One Globe Press or Going Organic today and download your PDF copy.
Free Article Released for publication and distribution 10/May/2010 Jay North & One Globe Press
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