By Henry McRandall
For years now, inner-city residents in the U.S. – to a lesser extent in Canada – have experience an increasingly hard time finding fresh fruits and vegetables in their local grocery stores.
Even in the tony suburbs, where supermarkets stock abundant quantities of produce, the safety and nutritional value of the offerings has come into question.
Far too many of the products are either GMOs (genetically-modified organisms) or other hazardous hybrids.
More and more, however, inner-city residents and even suburbanites have taken to solving their individual and collective problems through guerrilla gardening.
Guerrilla gardening consists of planting home or community gardens on urban rooftops or on abandoned properties in declining ghettoes using almost exclusively organic seeds..
For many – and especially the inner-city poor — this guerrilla gardening provides the only source of fresh fruits and vegetables and the only real source of high-value nutrition.
More and more, tenants are demanding the right to grow gardens on their rooftops or in vacant fields. And more and more, landlords are agreeing to their tenants’ demands.
While climate makes the year-round availability of homegrown fruits and vegetables extremely tenuous in many areas of North America, to whatever extent they have been nurtured and allowed to bloom they have contributed greatly to the well-being of the guerrilla gardeners.
In many cases, they have also contributed mightily to the evolution of a sense of community among neighbours, something generally sorely lacking in North America today.
Yes, there is some backbreaking work involved in planting and maintaining large urban gardens. But with small rooftop gardens and community involvement in tending gardens in abandoned fields, the effort of each individual can be greatly reduced.
And, in addition to being largely organic, guerrilla gardening also produces other health benefits.
Since the produce is grown right at home, there is no need for long-distance transportation of the fruits and vegetables or long periods of storage in supermarket warehouses.
The food that is consumed is, therefore, fresher, healthier and more nutritious.
And it is also free of many of the toxic pesticides and other chemical sprays typically used in agribusiness and corporate farming.
The concept may be far from perfect, but the more fruits and vegetables poor and working-class people have access to and the more nutritious that produce is, the healthier will be those who eat it.
It may not solve all of North America’s problems with diet and nutrition, but it is one small and valuable way of fighting back against Food Inc.
Guerrilla gardening grows organically
By Henry McRandall