Opinion | Iowa City needs to implement more public gardening to grow locally

Iowa City can easily implement ways to grow food locally.

Watering+vegetables+and+herbs+in+raised+bed.+Fresh+plants+and+soil.

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Watering vegetables and herbs in raised bed. Fresh plants and soil.

Luke Krchak, Opinions Columnist


The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred people to try new things, but a hobby that needs attention is gardening, specifically in the Iowa City community. Iowa City could use more than four community gardens, and with multiple unused open spaces, they could implement more urban gardening.

Urban gardening is when people grow plants in an urban environment, so planting on lawns, decks, and balconies.

Starting a small garden at home can be fairly cheap. Depending on what you grow, you can save money on produce you would normally buy at the store. Urban gardening is something that individuals could easily do, as all one needs is soli, seeds, water, and sunlight.

This would help on the individual level, as people would save money, but what about the community level?

There are a few solutions to grow more locally. One being to improve Iowa City’s community gardens.

Currently, there are only four community gardens. Based on Iowa City’s current system of community gardens, people can rent out plots, costing around $15 to $30.75.  That is where problems start, when individuals rent out plots it focuses on the individual rather than neighbors coming together.

Iowa City should encourage people to start their own community gardens so that neighborhoods can grow gardens together. People could then get to know their neighbors better, while also learning valuable lessons on gardening.

Gardening has also been proven to be useful at teaching children healthy eating habits, as it is an alternative to fast food and teaching kids how to take their food into their own hands.

However, Iowa City should not stop there. Guerilla gardening might be a way to grow locally without being stuck to one place like community gardens.

Guerilla gardening started gaining popularity in Los Angeles, when Ron Finley started growing crops on underutilized public plots of land, such as medians, and curbside grass. He was met with some backlash by the local government, which originally said it was illegal.

However, with large support from the public, he was able to get the ruling changed and it became legal to do guerilla gardening. It is still up in debate whether or not it is illegal in other states, such as Idaho banning growing plants on any public land, without permission from public land management agencies.

Guerilla gardening, like community gardens, provides a place for fellow townspeople to get to know each other, and learn about gardening.

All of these solutions can be easily achieved by either pushing for more community gardens, or by just planting.

Food shortages caused by the pandemic can be solved by growing locally, which is a relatively cheap solution. The people of Iowa City can take their food into their own hands, by it being healthier to garden, as well as providing a backup supply of food.

In many ways growing locally is more than a solution for current problems, but also for future problems. Iowa City needs to act as soon as possible to take control of their own food, by implementing more community gardens, and guerilla gardening.

 


Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.


 

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