"You'd be surprised what the soil could do if you let it be your canvas. You just couldn't imagine how amazing a sunflower is and how it affects people."
“Gardening is the most therapeutic and defiant act you can do, especially in the inner city. Plus you get strawberries.”
In NYC, vegetation’s function of absorbing water has inspired the design of bioswales, curbside gardens with a deep layered system and plants purposely chosen because they take a lot of water. These bioswales can help absorb runoff in times of storm when the pipes can’t handle the excess water and sewage can overflow into local waterways. This bioswales thus help saving the city highly pricey infrastructure such as new pipe systems. Plus some of the plants on these bioswales can be edible thereby being multifunctional!
In a farmer's market in Cincinnati last summer, I bought vegetables from kids that are some of the youth that plans, plants, grows, harvests, markets, eats and prepares organic food as a part of the Permaganic Eco Garden program. Permaganic is a wonderful program that has converted a plot in the middle of Cincinnati into a permaculture and organic vegetable garden that invites the youth to learn life-skills such as growing food, managing market sales and cooking. This is just another creative and beautiful initiative sparking in people who wouldn’t necessarily be into farming, the interest on the way food grows, the relationship between the air, soil, water and energy, the connection between diet and health and ultimately realize how dependent we are to the land (click here for a video of the Eco Garden with interviews of the happy youth working there).
Check out the movie Edible City: Grow the Revolution for free on youtube just to get a glance on how urban agriculture is restoring our food system through the involvement of marginalized communities.
There are tons of these initiatives out there today all around the globe, and it is beautiful to see Permaculture Design helping turning the wheels of these ideas, from their conceptualization to their realization. A shift is occurring, one that brings alternative means of producing food characteristically local and this is all very exciting!
Looking forward for the urban permaculture section of the Permaculture Design Course in Portugal and Ibiza this September.