What happens when installing a farmers market or planting in a community garden or a yard is not an option — because there is no land available or people have to move? What if people simply need to learn how easy it is to grow their own food?
Could a garden be portable? Can education come to the people? What if the farmers market was mobile?
One artist designed an urban agriculture movable garden out of pull carts that have their own water storage. For people with no yard or who have to move often, this creative device allows them to grow their own food wherever they are. The folks at The Farm Proper in San Diego are creating pocket farms in unused lots, using shopping carts as the planters – a larger scale portable garden.
What about helping those who have yards or space to grow actually do it? A lot of people think they can’t grow food or that it’s too hard. Projects like Mobile Food Collective in Chicago are bringing the urban ag school and love of growing to the neighborhood. Their mobile unit also serves as a meeting point, seed exchange, and gardening tool shed.
Farmers markets are going mobile, too. From veggie carts to stores on buses, produce is coming to urban food deserts. For several years, West Oakland’s People’s Grocery used a converted old postal truck (run on bio-diesel with solar-powered sound system) as a mobile market selling fresh, affordable produce at various places in the city. The Buffalo Grown Mobile Marketplace project not only brings organic, local produce to low-income communities, but also educates residents about community gardening and nutrition. Last summer, Seattle’s Mobile Market project collected produce from backyard growers, local farms and businesses in a quest to ensure “food resiliency.” (We talked a bit about community resiliency in our previous post.)
In New York City, 350 Green Carts bring fresh produce to food deserts. Plans are being made for similar carts in Chicago and Detroit. And one of our favorites is Mark Lilly’s Farm to Family. His converted school bus brings a “unique interactive shopping/educational experience” to folks in the food deserts around Richmond, Virginia. They are a mobile micro farmers market with the motto: feeding the community one stop at a time.
Urban ag on the go! Yes, you can take it with you.