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Baby Cubanelle Pepper

Baby Cubanelle Pepper

This is a follow up to yesterdays post.
How can one be close to the neccessities and not be car dependent AND not be in an urban environment totally dependent on “the system”- stores,electricity, water etc.? Its not idle pondering, I want to know so I can do it. I do realize that to some extent I cant do it alone, it will also take some societal changes.

I don’t want to overthrow everything and force people to live as I do, I just want there to be viable alternatives.
Hurricane Katrina shows how vulnerable the poor are to disruptions in the flow of neccessities. The children scrounging for food in the Dominican Republic are suffering from an inability to exist outside of the economy. Favela dwellers in Brazil, are struggling to survive.

Urban gardens are one way to become less dependent on the infrastructure for food. Where I live, there are a few houses that have been vacant for years. I imagine that on a lot the size of the one I live, one couuld grow enough food to provide produce for the entire block. One lot per block dedicated to gardens could help. Water can be collected so there is no need to pay for it.In Puerto Rico we had big rain barrels on top of the house, when there was a storm (or strike) there was water available for the toilets and to drink.
In a more compact concentrated area, like a typical large American city, there are alternatives. Rooftop gardens. Building homes that share a central courtyard with land available for gardening.

In suburbia, the reduction of huge front yards (my mothers lot is large enough for 3 2000 sq ft houses, mine is large enough for 2 with a small yard for each. Move houses closer to the street but orient them to the backyard. People dont like to plant vegetables or hang clothes in the public areas of their yards, so decrease the public areas.

I’m busy today, so I will just provide the usual linkage.


Agriculture has now developed to a point where instead of the food being grown close to home, it is now being produced on mega-farms or feedlots hundreds and even thousands of miles from the population centers. Consequently, the quality, safety and with impending gasoline shortages, even availability of our food system has been compromised for the convenience of the city dwellers and the pockets of, what the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan describes as, the “merchants of death”.


East Lake Commons is a Cohousing Community built on 20 wooded acres less than 5 miles from downtown Atlanta.  Our community is a family/child-friendly neighborhood built around pedestrian ways, a 4-acre organic garden, wildlife corridors, and is designed to fulfill ideals of social diversity and environmental sustainability. We are part of a much larger urban renewal/ urban pioneering effort involving unprecedented cooperation between government, private commercial enterprise, and local neighborhood associations to revitalize the historic East Lake district of Atlanta.



Community gardens provide an alternative for people in low income communities to simultaneously improve food security and their participation in a local food system. For low income families, urban gardens are a potential source of fresh, nutritious produce at relatively low cost. These benefits take on greater significance in light of recent debate at the national level about government food programs. Urban gardens also provide a focal point for people to come together in community and build neighborhood relationships at a time when disappearing resources put a strain on inner city families


City Slicker Farms in West Oakland, California, is also based on a model of self-reliance. West Oakland is an area characterized by poverty, unemployment, and poor health. Health problems in the area are at least in part attributable to a high level of food insecurity — the community has just one grocery store, which most residents don’t have access to.

That’s where City Slicker comes in. In addition to six urban gardens, the organization has a “backyard garden” program in which it helps low-income neighbors grow their own produce. City Slicker mentors teach participants the skills they need to maintain their gardens and to use the produce for cooking.

“Poverty is a problem and Type 2 diabetes is a problem in these communities. So we know that there’s a need for healthy food,” says Logan Harris, program assistant for City Slicker Farms. “The backyard garden program is saying, not only is there the need, but there’s also the resources that already exist in this community


An important prerequisite for urbanization has been sufficient labor efficiency in food production to support a significant proportion of people who were doing other things besides growing food. In modern industrial societies most people live in cities and only a small proportion of the population are the farmers, spending most of their time producing food. The “inevitable progress” of modernity seems to be to eliminate the need for self-provisoning. This historical pattern has been interpreted as adaptive economic and social evolution, as for example when governments ban gardens in cities. Given the world’s growing population and increasingly limited natural resources, urban gardens are also sometimes considered an inefficient use of resources compared with conventional agriculture, as for example when urban extension agents view vegetable gardening as a costly hobby for well-off households. Many of these opinions appear to be based on the assumption that it is more efficient to buy food at the grocery store–food imported from outside the city, state or country–than to grow it in urban gardens. The persistence of household gardens in urban areas challenges these economic and cultural assumptions, however. Urban gardens may in fact an efficient use of resources in terms of aesthetic, social, culinary, nutritional, economic and environmental criteria, both currently and in the future.



Bob McKenney drives up to Kinder Farm Park in Millersville three times a week to tend his squash, cucumbers, green beans, carrots, cantaloupes and watermelons. The Annapolis retiree lives in a condominium and doesn’t have anywhere else to garden.

“They would raise Cain if I tore up the grass and put in a garden,” McKenney said with a chuckle. If plans for a proposed community gardens in the city come to fruition, McKenney might just stay local to get his fruit and vegetables. Rising fuel costs are eating into his savings on his grocery bill. “I burn a lot of gas coming up here,” he said.

Helen Loughrey, 46, of Edgewater is trying to bring community gardens within walking distance of their gardeners. She founded Annapolis Community Gardens, a consulting business, last year to advise schools, hospitals, apartment complexes and neighborhood associations on how to set up a structure for urban agriculture.

Community gardens, such as Kinder Farm, are good, but they don’t help low-income city residents who rely on public transportation, Loughrey said. By bringing the gardens to smaller plots within the city, those residents can get fresh vegetables at a reasonable price. With food banks stressed, it makes even more sense to learn gardening, Loughrey said. Besides, Kinder Farm has a waiting list of 20 to 30 people, said William Offutt, the park superintendent.



The fields that ended hunger for Hen­riette Lipepele’s family are squeezed between a trash-strewn dirt road and a cluster of one-room cinder-block houses.

They are not exactly pretty, at least not in the wide, pastoral way that one might imagine fields and farms. Ms. Lipepele’s beds of sweet potatoes and leafy bitekuteku are narrow and not quite straight; the patch where she added bananas and sugar cane seems almost overgrown with competing greenery. The setting is hardly bucolic.

But these plant beds wedged into the Quartier Mombele – one of the unpaved slums of Kinshasa, the sprawling capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo – are examples of what many aid experts believe could save hundreds of thousands of people from hunger and malnutrition: urban gardens in the developing world’s fast-growing cities


For the first time, global population estimates this year show that more people live in cities than in rural areas. By 2020, according to the international Resource Centre for Urban Agriculture and Forestry, some 75 percent of the world’s city dwellers will live in developing countries – many of them in poverty. Already in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, according to the UN, almost three-quarters of city residents live in rapidly growing slums.

These trends present a huge challenge when it comes to food and nutrition. Bringing rural-grown produce to people living in infrastructure-poor cities is difficult. In any case, many impoverished city dwellers do not have money for fresh groceries. Many aid workers worry about a wave of city-based hunger.


In the middle of the modern, concrete city of Caracas, Venezuela, Noralí Verenzuela is standing in a garden dressed in jeans and work boots. She is the director of the Organopónico Bolivar I, the first urban, organic garden to show its green face in the heart of the city of Caracas, Venezuela.

I think this is enough for today. Check my delicious links for links without all the excess commentary. Go read, sign up for something, volunteer, donate seeds or a shovel. Sumthin.

One afternoon while international crowds swarmed the city for the World Social Forum, I visited the “organoponic” garden to talk with Verenzuela about the garden’s place in the city and Venezuelan politics. To Verenzuela, the garden represents a shift in the ways that Venezuelans get their food. “People are waking up,” she told the press. “We’ve been dependent on McDonald’s and Wendy’s for so long. Now people are learning to eat what we can produce ourselves.”[[1]]


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