Beyond the Backyard Garden: Urban Agriculture

<p>Thanks to industrialized agriculture, there’s a wide gulf between those who produce food and those who consume it. Too many city-dwellers lack access to nutritious, non-processed foods. Dave Steel thinks that urban agriculture is the key.</p>
June 11, 2008, 12pm PDT | tnac
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"When we think of the many technologies that have made possible the rise of the modern city, we usually think of things like railroads, structural steel, or great feats of engineering like bridges and tunnels, or water works.

But my nomination for the one invention that brought the greatest change to the American urban landscape is one that most of us don't associate with cities: the tractor.

The tractor ushered in the era of industrialized agriculture and food production. When the tractor showed up on the farm, the work of planting and harvesting crops suddenly could be performed by far fewer people. It might not be an exaggeration to say that if it weren't for the tractor, the modern American metropolis as we know it wouldn't exist. If farming were still done by hand, most of us would still be living and working on farms in order to grow enough food to sustain our society. As it is, only 2% of America's population farms for a living.

Industrialized agriculture made cities possible, and has given our modern society an abundance never before dreamed of."

Thanks to Dave Steele

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Published on Tuesday, June 10, 2008 in The Next American City
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