Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Urban Farm Hub: Recognizing the [Property] Value of Urban Farming

I couldn't possibly agree more with this article by Emily Knudsen. Please read it -- all about front yard gardens, property values, and community:

I can speak firsthand to the ability of front yard gardens to create a sense of community. While working in our front yard plots, we encounter neighbors wandering over from next door to comment on the progress of the veggies, people walking by checking things out, and even cars that are driving by stop in front of the garden to talk to us through a rolled-down window.

When one of our front yard gardens was decimated by a hailstorm, my husband and I walked over the next day to survey the damage. We stopped to chat with a neighbor who lived about a block away (someone I hadn't previously interacted with). She didn't realize that we were attached to the garden, and in the process of speaking about the hailstorm she expressed regret at the damage to all the veggies. "Those people have been working so hard on the garden," she said.

I interact with more neighbors in a week of working in my front yard garden than I did in the whole 2 years I lived in my house without the garden.

Gardens go through their phases, to be sure. In the late fall, winter, and early spring there is more dirt to see than plants (of course, dead lawn isn't exactly a treat to look at, either). But, during the months that the gardens are producing, there are endless shades of green, and pretty much every other color in the rainbow too.

Front yard gardens are beautiful, build community, and can help feed the neighborhood. Sounds pretty good to me.


Joy said...

As we were weeding Mary's garden, I was looking at the lawns around and thinking about this very fact. I heard once that lawns were introduced in America by a landscape architect who--around the time of suburban "white flight"--imagined the continent being a homogeneous sea of green lawn from one coast to the other (clearly never having visited the semi-arid & arid, mountainous West & Southwest). Perhaps this was supposed to make us ["us" being the white suburbanites, in this case] feel like a unified group? Certainly, I can't use the word "community" here, as is eloquently explored in the article.

Anyhow, so I was wondering to myself what the suburbs might look like with a sea of garden rows connecting yard to yard, instead of grass.. Here is also an enlightening article on the rise [and fall?] of lawns: although it doesn't mention that landscape architect I was sure I'd heard of...

CW-G said...

I agree 100%. When we first built our raised beds in the front last year there were some raised eyebrows and rolled eyes. However, as the tomatoes shot skyward and the squash vines crept over the lawn, people began to stop for other reasons. We had more comments about the beauty and practicality of what we were doing than I had imagined possible. Strangers would stop to admire, chat, ask for advice. There are still some naysayers, but they are outweighed by the number of neighbor kids who come to help plant and water and eat warm tomatoes off the plants.

US Recall News said...

Our xeriscaped, herb garden in the front and veggie garden in the back with grape-vines, raspberry patch, strawberries... were all a HUGE factor in getting our house sold within two weeks of putting it on the market in one of the worst housing markets in decades.

I couldn't agree more.

Urban Farm said...

Thank you so much for re-posting this! I'm very encouraged by knowing that there are others out there that can truly appreciate how much edible gardens can do for communities.

Would it be okay if I used your response on our site?

-Emily Knudsen

Sundari said...

@Emily -- Absolutely! Thanks so much for your wonderful article. :)

Azriel said...

One of my favorite things about working at the gardens is when someone walks by for the first time. They usually do a double-take with a perplexed look on their faces and then, once they understand what we're doing, the look often changes to one of inspiration.

I just hope that some of those people that were inspired last year have started gardens of their own this year. Now that would be progress!!

Margaret said...

Having a front yard garden has been the best way to get to know know my neighbors! I am constantly (and welcomingly) interrupted when I am weeding or watering, by passer-bys and neighbors or friends. It is also good motivation to keep the garden looking healthy and well-kept, because it is the first thing people notice! I hope it also inspires others to garden without limits or hesitation...just think if every front yard was a garden!