Urban Farming: A Viable Option
While small farming towns may not have the luxuries of exotic cuisine and commercial restaurants, they do have one benefit over their urban counterparts. Farming communities have access to high-quality, fresh, wholesome produce and meats! While many urban communities have attempted to bring the farm to the city, the lack of resources and space tends to confine even the most well-intended farming attempts. Recent technologies are paving an easier way for urban farming, making it a viable option for urban settings.
Hydroponics has given urban farmers a better opportunity to create locally-grown produce without the luxury of vast, open fields. Hydroponic farming is a technique used by NASA to grow vegetables in the absence of soil. The idea is to maintain a solution of water and nutrients capable of providing the necessary lifeblood for plant growth, along with specialized LED lights that mimic the sun's rays. This method saves space and gives growers better control over the plants' environment.
There are downsides to using a hydroponic system, as Mitch Hagney, co-founder of LocalSprout in San Antonio, points out:
"If our pumps fail, our plants die the next day. If our nutrient solution goes out of whack for three days at a time, our plants look bad," Hagney told the San Antonio Current. "Whereas natural farmers just put the seed in the ground, water it and hope for the best, we have a better option because we can produce better plants. But if we mess something up our plants are much worse than they would have been in the field.”
The benefits to consumers, though, is the opportunity to have access to local, fresh produce without the harmful pesticides! Through these and other similar initiatives, small farms can make full use of the limited land available to provide fresh, organic produce at a local and regional level. Restaurants can pass these benefits directly to consumers through the use of these products in their regular menus.