is urban farming really farming?

Quite some time ago I got a comment on my blog praising my encouragement of gardening, but admonishing me that I really knew nothing about modern farming.

The tone towards gardening echoed the way my old law coworkers talked about domestic arts. Clearly not as important. “Farming” was not what I was doing.

I’ve been thinking about it lately, as the urban farming movement takes off like gangbusters. Are we really farming? Are we farmers? Or just gardeners with illusions of grandeur?

What qualities divide the backyard garden from an urban farm?

Do I have to sell my harvest to be a farmer? What if I give it away? Does sharing mean I’m not farming?

What if I only feed my family? Is that a farm? What if I feed my family most of what they eat? Is it a farm then?

If I don’t have to work at a job I hate because I don’t have to spend money on food, is that a farm?

Does a farm have a minimum size? Does it have to be in the country? Do I need big equipment to be a farmer? Do I even need a farm?

I sound facetious. I don’t mean to be. Maybe I do. I don’t know.

Does it make a difference what we call what we’re doing? Do we need to call ourselves farmers just because we feel like that way we’re sticking it to the man? Do we need that title to feel confident standing up to the agri-industry?

Does it matter?

What do you think?

14 thoughts on “is urban farming really farming?

  1. growing grace farm

    Well, my daughter thinks bec/ we don’t have any traditional farm animals and a lot more land that we are not a farm. My thought, however, is that I’m cultivating the land by hand, I’m using traditional and modern sustainable farming practices, and I’m taking care of more birds, possums, raccoons, squirrels, and rabbits than I’d planned on–seems to me, this suburban yard has become a farm by my standards. Thanks for inspiring me, @slowfoodsmama–I’m going to have to blog on this topic too.

    1. The Slow Foods Mama Post author

      Thanks for your thoughts – I’d love to hear more about what your farm entails – Looking forward!

  2. Pingback: is urban farming really farming? | Vertical Farm - Food Factory |

  3. jpratt

    Hmmm – I don’t consider myself a farm…yet. 🙂 But I’m working on getting there! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I’m looking forward to reading through all of your posts. 🙂

    1. The Slow Foods Mama Post author

      Let us know when you get there! What do you think will make the difference between where you’re at now and being a farm?

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