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local dirt Homegrown in the city C

ucumbers are cool and peppers are hot as many people are show- ing renewed interest in growing

their own vegetables. Today’s vegetable gardens come in a variety of sizes, shapes and styles, and can be found in a back- yard, on a patio, and even on a rooftop. A national survey from the Garden

Writers Association Foundation found that vegetable and fruit plants are being purchased in increasing numbers by gardeners. There may be several reasons for

this increased interest in vegetable gardening. Skyrocketing gas prices and increasing food costs at the grocery store are pinching our wallets. Food- borne illnesses and safety issues make us unsure about the food we buy and where it comes from. Concern about the environment is forcing us to look at how best to use our natural resources. Urban Gardens

A new and often extreme approach

to vegetable gardening is occurring in cities across Canada. Urbanites are replacing lawns, even entire front yards, with vegetable gardens. Supporters of these “mini-farms” feel growing food is a better use of land and water resources than cultivating an expanse of grass. In addition to growing vegetables for personal consumption, many of these urban farmers are generating income by selling their produce at farmers markets or to restaurants. However, these front yard gardens are not without contro- versy as neighbors and homeowner’s associations may oppose them saying the vegetable gardens detract from the general appearance of hood.

the neighbor- Community Gardens Community gardens offer many city

dwellers access to land where they can grow their own productive garden. As food costs rise, families, especially those with a low or limited income, find that fresh vegetables and fruits become unaf- fordable. Community gardens not only provide fresh, nutritious produce for nearby residents, they offer a place for the neighborhood to come together and interact, and bring a sense of pride and ownership to the community. Some community gardens are specifically for children to help them understand the importance of where their food comes from, ecology and to make a connec- tion with nature; while others use the black only Plant this…

Community gardens are a great way to grow fresh produce and reduce your grocery costs if you don't have space in your own yard for a garden.

garden as a way for kids to earn money by selling the fresh vegetables they have grown. Benefits of Gardening in the City Whether it’s a small backyard garden,

containers on a rooftop or a large community garden, urban gardens contribute to the community in many ways. The green space adds to the qual- ity of life in the city and can contribute to increased property values. It is esti- mated that green vegetation reflects as much as 25 per cent of the sun’s radia- tion, reducing the heat island effect

found in cities. Gardens also provide areas for rain runoff, minimizing soil erosion as well as recycling water back into the environment. The open space, food and water found in a garden provide important areas for wildlife inhabiting urban areas. Urban areas offer as many ways to

garden as there are people who live there. Start small, have fun and enjoy all the benefits of growing your own, healthy and flavorful fresh vegetables. Story provided by National Garden Bureau

Attention water gardeners! For more information on beautiful non-invasive plants, search:

Grow Me Instead Ontario NOT this.

2 colour printing S. Smith

White Water Lily (Nymphaea odorata)

ALTERNATIVE 4 colour printing

Water Soldier (Stratoides aloides)

INVASIVE | Summer 2016 • 7


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