Sustainable Urban Food Production
Updated: Mar 22
Washington, DC 7/29/2020
Why Sustainable Urban Agriculture? Over 60% of the world’s population live in cities today and by 2050 this number will be over 9 billion. Over 25% of CO2 emissions come from food transportation.
The benefits of Sustainable Urban Agriculture: short transportation, therefore less spoilage, fresh, organic and more nutritious. Urban gardens help to reduce the urban heat-island effect, plants are major sequesters of air-pollutants, and they also prevent stormwater runoffs the major source of water pollution. Gardens are therapeutic and it is not only for the elderly.
In my small garden in Washington, D.C I practice BioIntensive Planting.
The first and most important step is to creat a 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 own compost. I also grow compost crops to enhance the quality of the compost therefore the soil. For example, I grow corn and sunflowers to improve carbon and nitrogen in the compost. Nitrogen and Carbon are important for plant growth.
I also use the three sister companion planting method. The three sisters are, beans, corn, and squash.
Beans or legumes fix nitrogen from the air into the soil that the plants can use as a natural fertilizer.
Corn 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 sisters 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, over 5kg of romaine lettuce, 4kg of butternut squash, 2kg of radish, strawberry, garlic, and many other delicious fruits and vegetables.
Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Start small!