Urban Farms? Yes, But Where Are the Urban Farmers?

A while back we noted the upsurge in the trendy notion of urban farms. The idea was that unused or abandoned urban land would be put to use for farming so the local folks would have a ready supply of fresh veggies that would enable them to get away from their icky fast-food diet. That would improve their health and make inroads into the obesity epidemic among the urban poor. Though it sounded good, we had our doubts about the success of this venture and it now appears that we were right.

The Atlanticcities.com blog (Nate Berg, One Thing Missing From the Urban Farm Movement: Farmers, April 24, 2012) reports that while small urban truck farms have sprouted in a number of places, getting people to tend to them after they are started, turns out to be a whole other problem. As any farmer will tell you, farming is hard work and it is time-intensive. It can also be expensive, depending on the equipment. With that being said, these tractors for sale on fastline, for example, are used, but they would do the same job as a brand new tractor. Plus, not having to pay full price is another bonus! Who wouldn’t want to save some money when it comes to buying equipment?

Those urban patches of land where the veggies grow, have to be tilled, weeded, fertilized and watered — and all that is inefficient and time-consuming, particularly when done on a small scale where modern farm machinery cannot be used. In the case of schools — a natural location for this sort of farming — things go well when the kids start out but go to hell in a handbasket when vacation time rolls around and the school farms go untended for several months during the summer vacation.

But you have to admire the genius of the free enterprise system. Some clever folks are starting businesses that for a fee will send gardeners over to tend to your urban farm while you work or are otherwise occupied.” One such outfit, in Los Angeles — where else? — is tending to some 150 urban farms while their owners are out doing other things.

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