On Urban Farms, a Sense of Place
by Slow Food USA President Josh Viertel
This post originally appeared on the Atlantic Food Channel
A few weekends ago I went to a picnic in Red Hook, Brooklyn at my friends Ian and Curt’s farm. We ate picked salad while overlooking the New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty. Pretty cool spot for a farm. But we could have been anywhere. You see, the farm is in the bed of a truck. You might have seen a picture of it on the cover of the latest issue of Edible Brooklyn.
The Truck Farm is the latest, and maybe coolest, addition to a growing body of work that urban dwellers are collectively creating: growing our own food in the city. My own inadvertent contribution is in the closed alley behind my apartment in Greenwood Heights. I’ve got hay bales I brought back with me from a trip to see friends upstate. I layered them with worm castings from the worm compost bin under the sink in my apartment, and planted herbs and vegetables directly in the bales. Now they are spilling over with basil, lemon verbena, thyme, parsley, salad, and tomatoes.
Some people say this new back-to-the-land-in-the-city trend grows out of a desire to eat food that tastes like something. Others say it comes from the need to save money in an uncertain economy. Some say it is to reduce our carbon footprint. Sure. It is all of those things.
But I think it is something else, too. The impulse to grow food, particularly in a cement landscape grows out of a simple desire to be connected to place.
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