From the Rooftops

Image of a food cache, 1978, library of congress

Food Cache. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

As I become progressively more interested in local food, I also increasingly find myself wondering if I will have to move to a more rural area to accomplish my goals.

As a kid, I always wanted to live somewhere urban – someplace where there was always something going on and new people to meet. I was comforted by the idea of slipping into anonymity in a strange city.

But now, I wonder if that drive is contrary to my local food goals. I want to get involved in my community, and get to know the farmers and ranchers that make the meals on my plate possible. After meeting Shelly and Pearl, I’m severely tempted by the idea of owning my own chickens. And daily the list grows longer: I want my own citrus trees (especially lemons, which are my favorite); I want to grow herbs and tomatoes; and I want to can and preserve produce that I grew myself.

All of these goals seem to require land. But an article published recently on NPR’s blog, The Salt, contradicts that assumption.

As Maanvi Singh points out, more and more urban dwellers want in on local eating, too, and they’re coming up with innovative ways to make that happen. One technique is that of the rooftop garden, something that has already seen a lot of action overseas in densely populated cities like Singapore and Hong Kong. But going beyond that are start-ups like Mini-Farmery, that aims to grows herbs, produce and other eatables in a store that is, literally, a shipping container.

What do you think about urban initiatives surrounding local food? Do you think rooftop gardens, hydroponics, and micro gardens are the wave of the future? Would you shop at a store that operates out of a shipping crate?