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Why Urban Farms Will Save the Economy and Lives

August 17, 2011

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We are living in uncertain times--news of economic woes, rising obesity rates, and chronic disease splash headlines daily. Why curl up with a Big Mac and cry over the Wall Street reports when we can turn parking lots into vegetable gardens and shipping containers into lettuce fields?

A recent report on Bloomberg.com details far-reaching plans for urban agriculture in cities around the US. Utilizing urban areas to raise crops will not only create jobs and save consumers money on food bills; it carries the added potential of creating healthier lives.

Moving away from packaged, processed foods purchased from corporate grocery stores, to a diet full of fresh produce grown and sold locally is a win-win situation. Turning food deserts into areas where copious amounts of agriculture are grown, will create jobs at the local level. Using abandoned industrial areas to produce the food needed to regain America’s health is a plan for a brighter future.

The Bloomberg report states, "with only 2 percent of the nation’s agricultural land used to grow fruits and vegetables, according to USDA statistics, there is opportunity for urban farmers to fill the gap."

So why isn't every abandoned lot across the country turned into a garden? The federal government continues to subsidize Big Ag rather than investing in local farmers markets and urban farms.

“Modest public funding for 100 to 500 otherwise- unsuccessful farmers markets a year could create as many as 13,500 jobs over a five-year period,” wrote Jeffrey O’Hara--an economist at the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Union of Concerned Scientists--in a study released August 4.

The plan to produce urban agriculture could easily save the economy and lives.

Watch how a group of vigilante gardeners in Brooklyn, NY- the most heavily populated area in the country- took things into their own hands.