This summer we have witnessed record heat temperatures in South
Florida, besides the decrease in the precipitation and increased
challenges of the Climate Change.
To tackle the challenges to Urban Farming in S. Florida one must
seek the answer first from within to basic questions, among others:
we do our part to be PREPARED to grow our own food?Are we preserving
the Florida Agriculture FARM land of precious muck and fertile soil for
the future generations to grow food ?Do we have the EXPERIENCED LOCAL
people on BOARD to provide farming expertise advice?
Urban Farming Reality on paper:
Florida is a TRANSIT state. Lots of newcomers arrive
to retire .It is also in a TRANSFORMATION state from Agriculture land
to Developments land.
As more DEVELOPERS build transforming fertile
soil into concrete blocks of "Malls, Gated "communities and what have
you.Imposing own rules to RESTRICT and curtail Productive Urban Farming
.Where will the future farms come from?
Russia has invaded Ukraine and the secret why is The FERTILE BLACK SOIL
of EUROPE BREAD BASKET COUNTRY , in addition to the huge natural gas
reserves of the Crimean Peninsula sea !Whereas the baffling reality
here is we in USA at the same time here are replacing fertile soil and
farm lands with developments at a fast pace rate ,without even giving a
chance for regulators to preserve the Historic Farm land for future
generations to gro own food...
Now we are stuck with the dilemma of growing food on demolished
structures , given the example of few community gardens created or
earmarked to be created on a mixture of soil . concrete debris,and God
knows what of hazardous chemicals in between????
The Plight and Fight.Who cares ? Going it alone?
daily news about Urban Growers attempting to grow sometimes is
discouraging.Too many challenges and too little support.Take the example
of a story I read in the local news yesterday ,still fresh:
You may sprinkle some heavy metals like lithium,mercury,rocket
fuel,pharmaceutical and manufacturing hazardous chemicals.Some of much
more were/ are being detected on many soil grounds not to mention the
water pollution .We stand still in shock .Are we alone fighting for
survival of the fittest farmer /or fattest pocket??
Why no one cares about local fertile soil,urban growers,farms and
farmland any more???Let us ask ourselves what have we done to ensure
that we invest in
urban farmers,community gardens.backyard farming and such in S.Florida
.What we witness quite the opposite in some cities that have either
demolished existing community gardens, or try to discourage urban
growers by withholding support or by excessive
regulations to CONTROL and CURTAIL growth of Urban Farming projects
preferring good looking manucured landscape of expensive water wasting
inefficient grass over edible plants that produce food !
Agri-business controls agriculture in S. Florida, supported by
mainstream media and special interest lobby centers.So , what to do in
the absence of support and fertile land? Where and how to grow our own
food?The answe lies in our BACKYARDS!
Backyard farming is the new trend .Urban Growers are the new
generation of farmers like the community garden is the new version of
the Victory Garden.But who is listening or showing interest to DO
IT???Who will help us confront the many challenges from climate
change,disappearing fertile soil land,lack of financial incentives or
educational opportunities to promote Organic Urban farming ,white fly
infestations, to name the least!!
Lots of my garden enthusiast come to me with so many
questions lamenting failed crops or lack of know how etc.." How to
successfully grow my own food on my backyard that is sandy ,infested
with nematodes or fruit trees infested with white flies , not to mention
the buried God knows what of hazardous debris of chemicals and sort or
the polluted water!!
Urban Farming challenges On the GROUND .
Lately I was approached by a new Urban Grower seeking advice.,He
was attempting to farm on less than couple of acres at a combo of
demolished structure- transit land .I advised him to test the soil and
refrain from using cement block for raised bed structure .He found
deposits of LITHIUM (Battery chemical) after the soil test .Instead , he
told me he might be switching to container gardening for now !
Another example, agroup of new comers urban farmers, rented some
acres land next to a nursery , but were confronted with challenges
ranging from soil deficiency of nutrients ,organic matter ,sandy soil
infested with nematodes, excessive heat .They were facing a potential
failed crop in addition to the above ,add lack of experience and
knowledge on farming in the S.Florida Sub-Tropical zone.
The stories of attempted Urban Farming and failing, or struggling
to be less negative ,continues to surface as we tend to reach out for
help and speak out .The future will show whether how much as more new
comers flood the new found industry of Urban Farming continues to
Here are some 10 FARMING "
COMMENDEMENTS " to successfully grow your own food in the sub-tropical
S.Florida and turn your "lemon 'Challenges into" lemonade" solutions:
1-Consult an expert who has been there HANDS ON growing and
consulting on the matter of growing local fruits and veggies.Take
classes offered by local Urban Farmers who have extensive education and
LOCAL EXPERIENCE. Beware fake fraudulent farmers.Ask for
certifications,experience and current projects,web sites, reviews etc..
2-Test the water and soil , prior to commencing to work the land.
Small :space,containers and budget,
you are growing from seeds or cuttings ,create a mini backyard nursery
to EXPERIMENT .Chose area NOT exposed to EXCESSIVE HEAT,with adequate
shade, away from pets and traffic or pollutants.
5-Solarize the soil to prevent weed and nematodes from taking over
.I personally use a combo of vinegar, epsom salt, and hot water to spray
away weeds, instead of using "WROUNG UP".
for the Fall Growing Season RIGHT NOW at SUMMER, rather than waiting for
last minute preps! Grow seeds indoors if it is too hot outdoors.
7- Take your time to learn and apply.Farming and gardening is a PROCESS.BE
8-Learn garden Ergonomics" and switch to night time gardening if the HEAT and bugs bother you!
9-Hydrate and wear garden gear while gardening.
ONGOING gardening classes .I am a certified Florida Horticulturist with
more than 15 years of Hands On experience ..as well Heads on
education..Or pick up offered by local Urban Farmers who have extensive
and LOCAL EXPERIENCE. Beware the fake fraudulent farmers.Ask for
certifications,experience and current projects,web sites, reviews
By the way..The growing fall season is next
around and NOW is the time to be PREPARED.Take the first step and sign
up for an ongoing gardening class of your choice or a home garden
consultation.More details at:www.localharvest.org/farms/M20618
Posted by Tony
@ 07:35 PM EDT