There are so many great things about living in a big city, but having a great garden is not necessarily one of them. At least not if you’ve been living in apartments for the last 10 years like I have. But, there is hope!
For example, very locally for me there is the Hayes Valley Farm – an amazing project that is helping to change the way we, in urban areas, think about and interact with the earth and our food. Just last month, our city took a big step forward in terms of urban farming:
…On April 20, the mayor of San Francisco signed a bill that allows urban farmers to grow more fruit and vegetables than they would use for their own consumption. With this bill, the city has taken the lead in stretching the legal limits of urban farming; allowing San Francisco residents to sell their produce to local restaurants. The costs of the permits for converting empty lots to farmland were also lowered drastically. This law is in stark contrast to several other American states where people can be fined for growing too many vegetables. (-Hayes Valley Farm website)
The farm is open to volunteers Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between noon and 5 pm if you want to jump in and get your hands dirty. To read more about the legislation and new mayor Ed Lee’s take on all this, check out the full SF Chronicle article here.
And even if we don’t make it down to the farm every week, it’s nice to know it’s there. And it’s got me thinking…thinking about composting my food scraps, for example. This is really important (and mandatory in SF as it turns out). It helps to provide our farms with nutrient rich soil, which in turn means healthier plants, i.e., more nutrient dense food. It also reduces what we dump into those nasty landfills of ours, and reduces the need for damaging fertilizers. More information about getting your own composting bins (for free) is available at Recology SF. To read more about the benefits of composting, check out this webinar.
Then there is doing my/our best to actually buy the local produce and support local farmers… This offers us peace of mind about where our food is coming from and supports communities close to us. Its also a great way to eat seasonally- a healthy practice for people and the earth, alike. The Pacific Coast Farmers Market is a great Bay Area resource for seasonal recipes and finding your local markets’ schedules.
Finally, I’m thinking how nice it would be to have some fresh herbs in my own little apartment- the simple act of planting and watering can really reconnect us to our food, reminding us to appreciate each leaf, the flavors and health properties from each unique plant and simply the sunlight, soil and water that is abundant and life giving.
Here are a few ideas for displaying a small indoor herb garden:
I like this vertical pocket version if you have a nice backdoor or wall, perhaps off the kitchen to the back stairs or something, as many apartments here in the city do.
I think this one is great for a counter- a clean simple design that provides for easy watering and has room for your three favorite herbs. I would have to do basil, dill and rosemary I think.
These vintage “Boston Bread Molds“, also at Terrain, would make a sweet counter top planter, too:
Over at Terrain, you’ll also find black board marking posts and herb snips for your new kitchen garden:
I think we’re ready…happy urban living friends. eat, live, love well.
Update: I guess great minds think alike! Check out today’s product spotlight from Dwell- adorable indoor grow bottles of all your fresh kitchen herbs!