The benefits of urban farming are countless. Greater access to nutritious food, a stronger sense of community, and a reduction in environmental hazards are just several benefits that residents can enjoy when they cultivate an urban farm. In the past, urban farms have successfully lowered the effects of food deserts in underserved areas. As a result, a number of Pittsburgh farming communities have started to spring up around the region — and for good reason. In its latest article, Pittsburgh urban farming community Mount of Olives breaks down the top benefits of urban farming in underserved communities.
Increase in Agricultural Awareness and Effective Farming Practices
Teaching Residents How to Grow Their Own Food is One of the Greatest Benefits of Urban Farming
Most of the time, residents in urban areas do not have access to farming or farming opportunities. Community farms allow members with varying farming skills to gather together to learn how to properly plant and raise their own fruits and vegetables. Residents can grow a variety of foods, including cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, basil, and cabbage.
Children and adolescents can also greatly benefit from community farming, as it introduces them to basic environmental issues and growing practices. By teaching the younger residents of the community urban farming skills and sustainability efforts, Pittsburgh farms can help pave the way for a healthier planet.
Access to Fresh and Nutritious Foods
Rather Than Spending Money on Unhealthy Meals, Residents Can Access Foods Critical for a Healthy Life
Residents in low-income or underserved communities do not have the same resources for obtaining high-quality, organic produce as those with higher incomes. Sometimes, families are forced to choose an unhealthy, but cheap option over a healthier and more expensive one.
Accessibility is also an issue. According to the National Housing Institute, higher-income neighborhoods can have as much as twice the number of grocery stores as low-income ones. As a result, members of low-income families are more likely to turn to gas stations and convenience stores for their groceries. This is usually why urban neighborhoods are considered “food deserts” or areas where purchasing fresh produce is almost impossible.
Pittsburgh farming communities often see an increase in vegetable and fruit consumption in their neighborhoods. By building a community garden, residents have access to nutritious food that was once too difficult or expensive to purchase.
Reduced Risk of Health Problems is One of the Many Benefits of Urban Farming
Increased Access to Healthier Foods Helps Prevent Certain Health Issues
Thanks to the education and resources provided by Pittsburgh farming centers, residents also face a lower chance of experiencing physical and mental health disorders. Residents can maintain physical activity through maintaining the garden, improving their dietary habits, and practicing relaxation techniques that often come with farming.
Urban farming has also been connected to a decrease in crime rates. High crime rates are typically correlated with a higher risk of being diagnosed with cardiovascular disease and mental health disorders. This decrease could be attributed to the filling of vacant lots that are typically used for drug use or illegal dumping, a stronger sense of community, and a new sense of purpose that community farms can bring.
Improvement in Economic Opportunities
Pittsburgh Farming Communities Present New Opportunities for Residents
One of the many benefits of urban farming that volunteers enjoy is experiencing hands-on learning in project management and business techniques. Attention-to-detail, proper planning skills, and the ability to communicate with other gardeners is key to growing a successful garden.
Both students and adults can benefit from these newly acquired skills and business principles. For instance, some volunteers rely on their farming efforts for extra cash from selling their produce at farmers’ markets. They can also give back to the community and relieve hunger by donating their excess food. As we learn new methods for creating a more sustainable future, it is important that we continue to educate others on these practices so they can also practice and promote them in their own communities.
One of the Most Important Benefits of Farming: A Stronger Sense of Community
Pittsburgh Farming Centers Can Bring Members of the Neighborhood Together
Urban farming communities are great places for people to meet and become acquainted with their neighbors. Because gardeners tend to grow personally invested in their communities and farms, a sense of camaraderie starts to grow amongst members. Crime rates also tend to become reduced as community farms continue to flourish. This can be attributed to the lack of vacant lots allowing suspicious activity to take place and the growing number of people working outside of their apartments.
Reduction of Air Pollution and a Cleaner Environment
Plants Are Wonderful Resources for Cultivating a Healthier Urban Environment
Urban neighborhoods aren’t always known for their cleanliness or air quality. By replacing vacant lots, Pittsburgh farming communities beautify the neighborhood and improve its cleanliness. Plants reduce air pollution by releasing oxygen. Because they also absorb rainwater, they can reduce the amount of dirty run-off water that falls into the streets and drains into lakes and ocean.
It is no wonder that community farms often become thriving centers for members of underserved populations. From promoting nutritious foods to encouraging healthier lifestyles, the benefits that Pittsburgh farming communities bring are plentiful. To help allow others to enjoy the many benefits of urban farming, contact the Mount of Olives for more information.