Will Urban Gardens Wilt Post-Recession?Posted: January 13, 2012
City gardening is often heralded as a modern solution adopted by crafty urban developers and foodies. But urban gardening during times of economic and political turmoil is as deep-rooted in the American tradition as apple pie. Take the Panic of 1893: The U.S. was caught in a serious economic recession (sound familiar?), unemployed factory workers filled the streets, scant social assistance programs existed, and cities were in full-blown panic mode. Enter “Potato Patch Farms,” an urban gardening initiative that also began in Detroit. Mayor Hazen Pingree’s program connected unemployed families with unused city land and provided them with farming materials and education. More than 1,700 families took advantage of Pingree’s program, and the idea spread to 18 other cities, including Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Seattle—some of the leaders of today’s urban farming boom.
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