Back to our garden roots: Urban farming and limited spaces

This article was first published on Oxfam’s 3things website on 23 April 2013. It was written for Oxfam’s GROW campaign, which creates awareness of the changes needed to fix the broken food system. Eating seasonally and locally, to reduce the environmental impact of our food production and consumption, is the first of six steps to a better food system. This article is Australian-centric but it translates to our international food habits. You can find the first installment of my GROW series on my blog here and on 3things here.

Garden Tomatoes

Buildings push farms away from the cities, making eating and buying local increasingly hard. But there’s one way to keep it ultra-local and to “print your own money” (thanks Ron Finley), and that’s to grow your own.

What better way to re-connect with your food than to sit in the garden (or your mother’s), like I did on Easter Saturday, stuffing your face and staining your hands red with home-grown fresh raspberries. I remember my mother used to take me into the garden to sow broccoli and lettuce with me, and I’d wait for weeks for them to pop their heads above the dirt.



For a while I’ve been thinking about having land someday so I can produce my own food. Mind you, I’m good at eating and certainly not gardening despite my mother’s help; I now kill cacti for god’s sake (I didn’t mean to).

With houses being pushed together and up and more people coming to live in the cities, there’s no better time to start your own garden. And the truth is that you don’t need a huge space for it (see rooftop garden movement Green Up Top for example). My mum gardens on under an acre and we could make it even more self-sustaining if we wanted. Give it a go! I’m going to.

Lone Orange

As George Bernard Shaw put it, “You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?’”

What can you do?

Do you grow your own food or do you plan to? Any tips for novices like me?

4 responses to “Back to our garden roots: Urban farming and limited spaces”

  1. I love your unripe tomatoes photo! And the one you’ve got in your page header. I’ve taken similar looking photos of a dried purple flower which I should probably play around so I can decide which one I like best.


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