Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Benefits of Urban Farming

Urban farming has many benefits that associate with the health of the community. For example, an urban farm increase access to organic and healthy foods and builds a stronger community. The ecosystem also gains advantages from reducing storm water runoffs and moderating temperatures. Many urban areas lack the green space, because of urban infrastructure and the density of the population; therefore, this would give the community a space that beautifies nature. 

Photo Credit: National Geographic
However, because it is an urban area certain health risk arises.  Urban soils are close to roads, waste dumps, industrial sites, and building fires; therefore, many contaminants can reach the soil, such as lead, arsenic, cadmium. Before planning on growing in an urban setting, the history of the site should be investigated first, and then a soil test to see what kind of chemicals is in the soil. To minimize the risk of exposures to contaminants, the garden should be away from building foundations. A fence around the garden is recommended to block any dust or any source of contaminants from roads. Once the gardening begins, it is important to lay landscape fabric and mulch to minimize contact with the soil and build raise beds if necessary. Before ingesting any of the crops, be sure to peel root crops and outer leaves of leafy vegetables and washing them thoroughly. Taking these precautionary steps will reduce exposure to contaminants and increase the livelihood of the crops, as well as provide a healthy and beautiful green space in an urban environment.
By: Michael Nguyen


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