Much like looking at a Patrick Blanc green wall in utter amazement, it is hard to believe that this beautiful edible garden grows on the granite steps of a museum in Chicago, but it does. See a glimpse of the steps in the upper right. Read on.
Unbelievably, this urban garden is growing on the hard granite steps of the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. The obviously healthy plants are thriving in self-contained portable micro gardens called EarthBoxes. The people of Chicago can thank the UN organization called The Growing Connection (TGC) for donating them. If not for TGC they would not be there.
An added benefit is that local University of Illinois extension program Master Gardeners have adopted the EarthBoxes. They have become believers and that helps significantly in spreading the word to other Chicagoans. Incidentally, the photo above is from the Cook County Master Gardeners Flickr account. There are many more photo sets showing the wonders of their work.
The museum is also the site of the 21st century Smart Home that includes an upper deck portable micro garden featuring EarthBoxes.
Super productive portable micro gardens like this could be producing fresh vegetables all over New York and other cities but they are not at this time due primarily to a lack of public information. We can thank a very small, but highly vocal, dirt gardening population led largely by neo-hippie counter culturists for that. Many of them hold the ideological belief that dirt is the one and only way to grow food in the city.
They not only ignore modernity, they ignore the fact that contaminated soil is widespread in many neighborhoods, particularly those of lower income minorities. Failure of city horticultural, foodie and botanical institutions to warn people of this potential health hazard, particularly for children, borders on the criminal. It is the dirty secret of so-called “urban agriculture”.
This too shall pass. Mainstream New Yorkers may not know much about horticulture but they are not stupid. Before too long the word will spread that there are modern, safe methods of personal food production that are not dependent on scarce and expensive tillable city land. New Yorkers will learn that portable micro gardens will grow food safely on concrete, blacktop and even granite if located in the sun.
City dwellers across the country will eventually discover what so many have already learned. One does not need a green thumb or self-identify as a gardener, agrarian or farmer to grow and eat fresh vegetables in the city. Everyone can be a true “locovore” and gain his or her own personal food security. Is there any better “food justice”?
Lao Tzu - "Give a Man a Fish, Feed Him For a Day. Teach a Man to Fish, Feed Him For a Lifetime"