The Urban Gardening Sprawl...

I’m not the only urbanite growing his own organic produce. More and more people are making good use of the free space around their homes, like these L.A. residents who transformed a seedy cinder-block wall into a cascade of strawberries, tomatoes, herbs, and vegetables. Cara Mia DiMassa of The Los Angeles Times reports:

The first time they tried planting vegetables, in a couple of wooden bins on the rooftop of their building, their novice status meant that plants weren't watered and cared for properly.

"Everything died," said Chris Owens, the group's de facto leader.

The second time, things went better. Members of the group paid special attention to the sprouts they planted, watering and pruning with care. And under their vigilant tending, corn stalks pushed upward. Watermelons appeared on vines.

Many residents were surprised by the way gardening united them, in an area where it sometimes seems best to mind your own business and keep to yourself.

"It brings us together as a group, kind of like therapy, to see something growing and flourishing," Jannie Burrows said.

"We're trying to feed our bodies with better nutrients," Lance Shaw said. "But more than anything, we like getting together."

The modest initial success led the Rainbow group to the nonprofit Urban Farming, which helped the group install the green wall last week as part of its Food Chain project. Urban Farming also erected "edible" walls at the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank, the Miguel Contreras Learning Center and the Weingart Center.

The Food Chain project, said Urban Farming founder Taja Sevelle, enables residents in some of the city's poorest areas to grow food in underused spaces at a time when food prices are soaring. The walls, she said, "get people to think outside the box. You can plant food in so many different places."

And Londoners are becoming expert backyard farmers too—via National Geographic News. Now, in case you can’t grow your own fruits and veggies. Christine McKinney of Eight Right, Stay Well shares a great shopping tip, Produce: The Dirtiest and the Cleanest. Actually, Christine’s list is very similar to Dr. Fuhrman’s chart of the least and most contaminated produce.

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TotalHealthBreakthroughs - August 18, 2008 2:47 PM

Gorgeous! I read a story recently too that people are turning to professional vegetable gardeners to help with their backyard produce. Kind of like landscapers. They will plant, harvest, and leave a bushel of your home-grown veggies right at your door! Great for busy professionals or brown-thumbs.

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