The words ‘urban’ and ‘agriculture’ might seem to be contradictory, but with more people looking for local produce the trend has taken off. Whether you live in a small flat, in a community area, or just have a patch of grass outside your door, there is always an opportunity to convert into urban farms.
These urban farms can be used for decorative plants, to grow some extra fruits and vegetables for the table, or even as community farming ventures. Whatever your reason for setting up an urban farm, keep reading to find out everything you need to know.
What is Urban Farming?
Before you can become your neighborhood farmer, you’ll need to ask the question, ‘What is an urban farm?’. If you search the internet, you’ll find the urban farm definition is simply the “cultivation of plants in an urban area”. Often there is a financial incentive behind organic urban farming, but it does not always have to be the case.
In some situations, communities have successfully set up urban gardens where the produce is then distributed amongst the locals. This is an excellent way of working with your neighbors to establish something that benefits everyone.
Urban Farm Indoors vs Outdoors
When starting an urban farm, space is your number one concern. There’s no point buying enough seeds to grow food for your whole city if you don’t have any space to plant them.
This doesn’t mean that you should give up on the idea if you live in an apartment or otherwise don’t have access to a garden. With the right help and quality led grow lights South Africa, you can start farming in almost any urban setting.
Urban Farming Outdoors
The best place to start your backyard garden is…in the backyard. If you’re lucky enough to have some space outside at your disposal, you have the perfect place to start creating your farm. Not only will this prevent your garden from taking up your living space, but it’s also much cheaper to start.
All you need is a small space that gets decent sunlight, some quality soil, water, seeds, and you’ll be ready to go. There’s something special about working on your outdoor urban farm. Whether during a weekend or at the end of your workday, spending some time with your hands in the dirt surrounded by plants and sunlight is a great way to help destress.
Urban Farming Indoors
Although it might be a bit more of a challenge to start, an indoor urban farm can be a very viable (and profitable) venture. You will need proper lighting, a growing area, and maybe even a tent to keep things neat.
The main benefit of growing plants indoors is that you have much better control over the environment and pesty insects. If you know your plants need a certain amount of light or a specific light spectrum, you can simply provide it by purchasing the right led grow light. Too hot? Bring in an air-conditioner. Too humid? Time to switch on the dehumidifier.
It will require more work, and expertise, to make sure that all of these elements are in sync, but with patience (and the help of the internet) you will yield very good results. Indoor grow environments are also excellent for smaller crops. Like if you start a small microgreen urban farming business.
Profitable Urban Farming
Although profit is not always the driving force behind urban growing, it can be for some. Many quick-witted entrepreneurs have done very well for themselves by setting up small urban farms and growing from there.
The major appeal of these urban farms is that they can provide fresh produce while having a small carbon footprint. Many people are becoming more aware of where their food comes from and the impact that it has on the environment. By buying locally grown produce, you can guarantee that the food doesn’t have to travel long distances and can be from farm to table within a day.
In addition to these two points, profitable urban farmers often target niche food markets that are not easily available or that are currently very expensive to bring in. There are so many different types of vegetables, flowers, and fruits that many people have not even heard of. If you can provide customers with a unique and healthy product, you’re sure to turn a profit.
Best Urban Crops to Grow
The types of plants you choose to grow is largely based on what you are planning on doing with them. If you are just growing some extra food to put on the table, then you have a very wide range of options. However, if you’re looking at urban farming for profit, then you’ll need to handle things a bit more like a business.
Thanks to modern technology and access to the right growing materials with just a click of a button, you can grow basically any fruit, vegetable or herbs that you want. This means you will be able to experiment with growing a wide range of both unique crops and your all-time favorites.
If you do want to treat your urban farm as a profitable business venture, then you’re going to first need to do some adequate market research. Although you could just start growing what you think will sell, it’s a much smarter strategy to go out, find out what the market is looking for, and provide crops that can fulfill this need. Embrace the entrepreneurial spirit and you will be pleasantly rewarded.
One of the most popular urban farming crops in recent years has been microgreens. It requires a small growing space, doesn’t require expensive lighting, is very low maintenance, and can be harvested frequently if you plan your schedules properly.
Start Urban Farming Today
Starting your own urban farm can be a great new hobby or a well-thought-out business decision. Whether you just want to start small or you’re trying to secure a loan for your new enterprise, there are plenty of opportunities to get started.
Once you’ve found the perfect space and acquired everything you need, you’ll be on your way to harvesting your very own food from the comfort of your backyard (or your home). Time to get growing!