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City Garden

An excerpt from the Hopi Elders Message for this upcoming time (2012) ,

Know your garden.
It is time to speak your truth
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader.

As we enter into the Aquarian Age (2012) , the vibrational frequency of Planet Earth is steadily increasing and we must prepare our physical bodies to receive these new energies. The nervous, glandular and immune systems must be strong to contain the energy. This can be achieved through a regular practice of Kundalini Yoga + Meditation, drinking fresh water and eating healthy organic foods filled with prana (life force of the Universe).

We are seeing many people around the world taking back their power from government institutions especially in areas of their health and well being. This is part of the great shift we are experiencing as we come closer to 2012. The Aquarian Age is calling us to become self- responsible for the reality we create.

Here is just one story of one Urban Farmer whose goals are: to grow food, to grow minds, and to grow community.

Anyone can Grow Food

Will Allen, who is 60, asserts that our food system is depleting soil, poisoning water, gobbling fossil fuels and stuffing us with bad calories. Like others, he advocates eating locally grown food. But to Allen, local doesn’t mean a rolling pasture or even a suburban garden: it means 14 greenhouses crammed onto two acres in a working-class neighborhood on Milwaukee’s northwest side, less than half a mile from the city’s largest public-housing project.

Allen’s Growing Power Farm provides healthful food to 10,000 urbanites — through his on-farm retail store, in schools and restaurants, at farmers’ markets and in low-cost market baskets delivered to neighborhood pickup points. He employs scores of people, some from the nearby housing project; and converts millions of pounds of food waste into a version of black gold.

With seeds planted at quadruple density and nearly every inch of space maximized to generate exceptional bounty, Growing Power is an agricultural Mumbai, a supercity of upward-thrusting tendrils and duct-taped infrastructure. Allen pointed to five tiers of planters brimming with salad greens. “We’re growing in 25,000 pots,” he said.

Through the hoop houses: rows of beets and chard. Out back: chickens, ducks, heritage turkeys, goats, beehives, spinach, arugula, cilantro.

If inside the greenhouse was Eden, outdoors was, as Allen explained on a drive through the neighborhood, “a food desert.” Scanning the liquor stores in the strip malls, he noted: “From the housing project, it’s more than three miles to the Pick’n Save. That’s a long way to go for groceries if you don’t have a car or can’t carry stuff. And the quality of the produce can be poor.” Fast-food joints and convenience stores selling highly processed, high-calorie foods. “We’ve got to change the system so everyone has safe, equitable access to healthy food.”

Propelled by alarming rates of diabetes, heart disease and obesity, by food-safety scares and rising awareness of industrial agriculture’s environmental footprint, the food movement seems finally to have met its moment. Roof gardens are sprouting nationwide. Community gardens have waiting lists. Seed houses and canning suppliers are oversold.

Today Allen is the go-to expert on urban farming, and there is a hunger for his knowledge. Allen was conducting a two-day workshop to learn worm composting, aquaponics construction and other farm skills. “We need 50 million more people growing food,” Allen told them, “on porches, in pots, in side yards.” The reasons are simple: as oil prices rise, cities expand and housing developments replace farmland, the ability to grow more food in less space becomes ever more important.

“Not everyone can grow food,” Allen acknowledged. But he offers other ways of engaging with the soil: “You bring 30 people out here, bring the kids and give them good food,” he said, “and picking up those rocks is a community event.”

Allen predicts that because of high unemployment and the recent food scares, 10 million people will plant gardens for the first time this year. But two million of them will eventually drop out, he said, when the potato bugs arrive or the rain doesn’t cooperate, However, “The experience will introduce those folks to what a tomato really tastes like, so next time they’ll buy one at their greenmarket.”

Article derived from Elizabeth Royte. To read full New York Times Article.

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