Does agriculture belong in cities?

Updated: Mar 5

For farmers, life can be pretty isolated. Most of the food Americans eat isn’t grown anywhere close to where we live, so when I decided to take an active role in local food, I assumed it meant our farm -- and our family -- needed to move to rural Georgia.

Out there I lived my permaculture dreams, and while we had loads of amazing memories and I learned more than I could have imagined (mostly the hard way), the the isolated toiling and the weeks before seeing close friends or family eventually wore us out.

And so, just as we thought about what life could be like if we moved closer to Atlanta, I read The Permaculture City by Toby Hemenway. It completely changed my way of thinking. This book paints a fantastic picture of the endless possibilities that urban environments can bring to agriculture and communities that live close to these resources. The key lesson is, when we design our spaces for food and ecology, it also solves a lot of the other issues we face.

Cities are where the people are; People are where innovation lies.

Let me wax poetic for a moment. I often dream of a long walk in an urban environment, where there is food and flowers everywhere and your senses are delighted in all the sounds of bees and birds. Growers and homeowners are working outside sharing food, plants, and stories. Without the sounds of power tools you might hear laughing and other noises that are otherwise drowned out.

Why do we waste so much time and so many resources --