May 26th 2012
Paradise in Parking Lots, Abundance in the Concrete Jungle
Paving over our farms and forests disconnects us from nature and our supply of food.
Joni Mitchell’s song “Big Yellow Taxi” is a classic reminder that what seems like progress may not always be a good idea for our communities and our environment.
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot.
But in the Bay Area and around the country, there are a growing number of many great stories of community organizations that are turning the tide to bring life back to formerly barren concrete jungles [such a good song!].
Small plots of lands in cities are being turned into productive miniature farms by organizations like Alemany Farm in San Francisco and City Slicker Farms, in Oakland. A group called Urban Farming -- supported by Atlantic Records and musicians like Prince, T.I. and Snoop Dogg – aims to get 100 million families planting and registering their urban farms, part of their mission to end hunger and uplift communities.
These urban farms produce food for the local communities that are food deserts – underprivileged areas that lack easy access to stores that sell healthy fresh fruits and vegetables. The farms also provide employment, often for youth, education, and empowerment. Volunteering at an urban farm is a great way to give back to your community while enjoying time with your neighbors and the fresh air in a little patch of paradise.