Urban farming is back from the past

A few days ago, in "Vertical farms,"we talked about the possibility of city buildings devoted to farming.

The concept is really not new. It's modern development that takes us back to the past.

Ancient civilizations arranged intricate irrigation systems to bring water closer to homes. Ancient Babylon in the Middle East and Machu Picchu in South America are still famous for the stepped architecture and the watered gardens the residents cultivated. In medieval times, some farming was done inside protective walls, in order to ensure a safe food supply for castle and manor dwellers. During the first and second world wars, people in the U.K., Canada and the United States were encouraged to cultivate so-called "Victory gardens." These were plots devoted to fruits, vegetables and herbs to reduce the pressure on large-scale farming and focus on manufacturing in support of the military.

Interesting how the emphasis on recycling, the conservation of raw materials and self-reliance can be applied just as easily to a war effort as to modern-day environmental efforts.

National Geographic magazine recently visited Europe, where urban farming is making a resurgence. The editors produced a video segment on people in London who are promoting food production at home. The video is here.

Many thanks to Duilio Zane for his photograph of the Toronto St. Lawrence Market.
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