Starting your own Urban Garden

This weeks Spotlight on Sustainability is inspired by local Victorian Cory Shankman. His balcony garden shows how you can get involved in the urban agriculture movement no matter how limited your space or resources may be.

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Urban living can pose a challenge to accessing fresh and sustainably grown food, but Shankman found a way around it. He started his balcony garden to obtain quality and sustainably grown foods, and because he wanted to depend less on food grown and shipped from far away.  “When we grow food locally, we reduce our carbon footprint, provide food security (to both individuals and society), and increase the nutrient content of the food we eat,” says Shankman. “Urban agriculture will take on a variety of forms that together will make our cities healthier and more sustainable.”

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Planting your own garden is a great way to get involved in producing and consuming sustainable agriculture. Shankman’s advice to anyone just starting out is to “Dive in! The biggest barrier to starting to grow your own food is mental. Get out there and experiment. Find what works for you. You’ll soon be enjoying meals from your garden to your table.”

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Leafy greens grow quickly even in small spaces. They produce enough for a hearty salad, showing the fruitions of your garden right away. Shankman recommends starting with vegetables such as kale and spinach and working your way up from there. To save money, look for used planters for sale or ask your friends for any of their unwanted planters. Lastly, find a gardening buddy or online community to keep you motivated. Having your own garden may even encourage your friends to start growing their own sustainable produce.

Our ongoing contest “Apartment Agriculture” is a great way to show everyone your flourishing garden. Tag us on twitter or Instagram or email your photo submissions to [email protected]. Watch for our most recent winner in the Fall/Winter issue of Concrete Garden, out in a couple of weeks.

All photos are courtesy of Cory Shankman

-Shayna Kuffert