As world population grows, a key challenge remains the ability of the increasingly populous cities to feed their constituents adequately by addressing the food dimension of urban poverty in view of the heightened migration to urban centres. With many becoming aware of the food systems; growth, harvesting/processing, packaging, transport etc., the quest to make input into the processes to address the needs of their food consumption and nutritional well-being has taken a centre stage among urban dwellers. Urban Farming/urban agriculture, the growing or producing food in a city or heavily populated town or municipality, and community farming or gardening provide an opportunity to improve food security (access to and being able to afford nutritious, safe food—and enough of it) in cities and improve the environment. The benefits of urban farming and community gardening include promoting a sense of community, providing a learning opportunity, generating jobs and promoting efficient use of land.
An urban farm
Revolutionizing Urban Gardening
Despite the many advantages of Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture (UPA), it remains unrecognized in agricultural and urban planning policies. As such, the activities of UPA are in constant conflict with other requirements for urban space. In cities like Accra, space has become increasingly limited due to the following:
- The demand for rapid infrastructural development,
- Poor planning of urban spaces resulting in the absence of green spaces
- Increased paving of available spaces, including the compounds of homes
A completely tiled compound, Accra
With the above situations making urban farming increasingly difficult and community gardening nearly impossible, it was important to introduce some form of innovation that ensures families and individuals are able to undertake gardening in their homes irrespective of the nature of the grounds. Speaking on the ‘You and the Environment Show’ on Radio Univers 105.7FM, the co-founders of the SackRevolution, Madam Priscilla Adom Tawiah and Mr. Victus Sabutey reiterated the importance of gardening and its role in promoting healthy lifestyles and environmental sanitation.
Crops and vegetables growing in sacks
Tomato growing in sacks
They explained that Sack Revolution is an innovation that is championing the idea of using sacks (or any type of receptacle that can hold soil) in farming, even in impossible places. The ‘idea was borne out of the desire to grow what we eat’ without the limitations of space so that ‘out of sacks we can eat’ without worrying about chemicals and other forms of contamination. A wide variety of vegetables including lettuce, garden eggs, cabbage, carrot, okra, tomatoes, ginger, onion, pepper and root crops such as cassava, beetroot, and cocoyam can be cultivated in homes and all year-round. Receptacles include fertiliser sacks, polythene bags, flowerpots, containers like gallons etc. are useful for planting at home.
Gardens with organically grown crops ensures the availability of natural foods with no chemical contamination, improved palatability, better appeal and longer shelf life. Advantages of gardening at home include among others;
- The supply of natural foodstuffs that are free from chemicals, increased shelf life and improved palatability with better health benefits
- Reduces budgetary expenditure on food
- Promotion of sanitation (recycling & reuse of materials)
- Promotes healthy living (therapeutic) particularly for people who are retired and seek something to keep them active.
Not sure how to start a garden?
- Think outside the box, do not be limited by the challenges of space etc.
- Look out for anything that can hold soil
- Get on with planting and controlling what you want to be eating
About ‘You and the Environment' Talk Show
The “You and the Environment” Talk Show aims at changing behaviours, opinions and perceptions among the Ghanaian populace about the environment by creating awareness on the role of the citizens in waste, environmental and natural resources management issues. The Show airs on Radio Univers 105.7FM on Mondays at 9:00am.
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