Thursday, 23 January 2014

Urban Gardening

A little while ago someone said to me that there was no such thing as Urban Gardening and that gardening was gardening full stop. And to a certain degree they were correct in that gardening knowledge and the hows and whys are the same where ever you are. Good soil, water, light and food are vital where ever you garden but, for me, Urban Gardening is not only a thing, but also something I am passionate about.

Imagine living on the 33rd floor of a block of flats. No balcony. No outside space.

Imagine living in a tiny maisonette. No garden. No outside space.

Imagine sharing rented accomodation. No garden access as all paved for easy maintenance by landlord. No outside space.

Imagine all these scenarios and more..........

Gardening in the Urban Landscape just isn't as simple as opening your back door and going outside to your space.

Add into any of the above scenarios children, jobs, time poverty, financial poverty, isolation......

Suddenly it seems impossible to interact with the outdoors let alone actually go outside and grow something.

And this is where the term Urban Gardening arrives. Urban Gardening gives all the people affected by the above, the ability to get out and garden. To interact with the earth and take control of their health by growing food, growing flowers for their inner city spaces, and teaching their children about the seasons and the earth.

I wrote this blog post mainly so I could post this video, but also because this is my real gardening passion. Good knowledge, great teaching and the love of the outdoors ought to be available to all and I for one will always support the need for the Urban Garden.

Because "Gardening makes Communities"


  1. Absolutely, with the majority of the world's population living in urban areas, to deny the existence of "urban gardening" as a phenomenon is to banish gardening to an elitist and irrelevant silo of the well-to-do. It can, should be and, I believe is so much more. Bravo Sara for championing this cause!

  2. Lovely video, Sara, not surprised you wanted to post and share it! Do you know where it was filmed? One worry I've had about public food growing spaces, open to all, is that crops would be removed/harvested before they are ready.

  3. Just fantastically inspiring & terribly moving to me. It shows how badly ALL of us need some connection with the land, even the tiniest patch.

  4. Too much labelling of things and a certain amount of looking down at certain types of gardening, as if it isn't 'proper' or 'enough'. Every little bit helps and should be encouraged. Something as therapeautic as plants and gardening should be introduced and available to all. So very true - Gardening can build communities

  5. Thank you all!! The garden in the video is in South Central LA-literally guncrime central of the west. If you look up Ron Finley on You Tube he has given several talks and I will link to one in a future blog. He is planting for the neighbourhood to use the food-it's not just for his own use, and it's more about health and well being than ust creating a garden.
    We have urban food growing spaces here in Bristol and actually the main problem is people's retisence to help themselves, mainly I suspect because they don't know what to do with it. So urban gardening needs to be all about not just growing but also about what to do with produce once it's harvested.

  6. Ron Finley is a real hero - hadn't seen this video before, so thanks for the link. Your definition of 'urban gardening' is spot on - land and food poverty are real issues for people living in built-up, densely-populated areas. The way people in Havana have made productive use of derelict urban space is a good example too - Monty Don wrote about it in '80 Gardens' - 'brownfield gardening' perhaps we could call it?

  7. I'm reading on an iPad so there's a blank space where the video should be - BUT I know the video you mean and it's inspiring and heart lifting.
    I always sniff out veg patches when I'm travelling (didn't have time when in LA as I was distracted by getting my passport replaced!), there are amazing little urban plots in Osaka, Japan and wonderful allotments in Stockholm and community gardens in San Francisco. Somehow growing plants make people relax and talk to each other.
    I think in the UK the media focuses too much on large private gardens, which although very lovely seem a world away from many people's reality.

  8. Good post, which I agree with. I live in a flat and one of my biggest regrets is not having a garden. However I do have a half plot allotment just a few minutes walk from home where I grow lots of flowers, as well as fruit and vegetables. Flighty (@Sofaflyer on Twitter) xx

  9. Thx! Also check this revolutionary organic gardening