Sustainable Urban Food Production
Updated: Jun 3
Washington, DC 7/29/2020
Over 60% of the world’s population lives in cities today, and by 2050, this number will be around 9 billion. Over 25% of CO2 emissions come from food transportation.
The benefits of Sustainable Urban Agriculture are short transportation, therefore less spoilage, fresh, organic, and more nutritious. Urban gardens also help reduce the urban heat-island effect, plants are major sequesters of air pollutants, and they also prevent stormwater runoffs, the primary source of water pollution. Gardens are therapeutic, and it is not only for the elderly.
The first and most crucial step is to create healthy soil. When the soil is healthy, the plants will be healthy. To improve the soil quality, which in D.C is mostly clay, I use my compost. I also grow compost crops to enhance the quality of the compost, therefore, the soil. For example, I grow sunflowers to improve Carbon in the compost. Nitrogen and Carbon are essential for plant growth.
I practice the companion planting method.
Beans or legumes fix nitrogen from the air into the soil that the plants can use as a natural fertilizer.
Sunflower will provide support for the beans vine to climb on.
Squash shades the ground, preventing weed growth and create a good, moist environment for the other Plants to thrive on.
I have rain barrels for water Conservation, and I use this to water my plants.
In the 2020 season, I harvested 25kg of tomatoes, over 3kg of arugula, 2kg of peas, around 5kg of romaine lettuce, 4kg of butternut squash, 2kg of radish, strawberries, and garlic.
Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Start small!