Urban Gardening Versus Urban Farming

June 6, 2012 · 4 comments

Garden in a Raised Bed

Organic Garden--credit abbydonkrafts

I was reading another organic gardening post about someone who says they are not a gardener. I am in the same mindset. I am not a gardener! I am an urban organic farmer. Yes!

  • My garden will not win prizes for beauty, though I find the resident ladybug on a kale leaf to be a stunning sight.
  • My garden will not be perfect as I will sometimes let the peas go too long into the heat.
  • My garden will not always be 100$ tidy with neat rows and matching raised beds, yet I’m happy I’ve tried out a variety of raised beds and containers.
  • Although I do plant inedible flowers—and like them very much, thank you!— my main purpose is to grow food. If the plant can be eaten, it remains high on my list of priorities. If the plant can’t be eaten, then it falls to second or third place in order of garden priorities.

My goal is to feed my family. If I can do that without a tidy garden and with a whole load of beneficial bugs, then I am happy.

I like to see photos from those who garden for beauty and design, and I and converse with them via Twitter and offline. I love what they do even though it’s not part of who I am and what I am doing. And that’s okay. As my grandma always said, everyone is different. The world would be boring if we all gardened (or farmed) the same way.

Will I use the word “garden” here on Evenings in the Dirt? Yes, I will. That is how people view the work, so I will use the word that makes sense to others. At the same time, I know that—deep down— I am an urban organic farmer.

How do you view yourself in respect to your garden and/or urban farm?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tammy L. June 6, 2012 at 6:38 pm

For me, the difference between “farmer” and “gardener” is not beauty, but rather intensity. Right now I am a gardener. If I had any intention of feeding my family through my efforts – and put more effort into it – I would be an urban farmer as well.


2 gardening June 6, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Hi Tammy–Thanks for your comment. I completely get that. My goal–not there yet–is to provide most of my family’s food. You have a good point about intensity.


3 Miss Z June 27, 2012 at 4:09 pm

I tend to view gardening as a sub-set of farming. Farming being not only vegetables and flowers, but orchards, grains, animals and such. I also consider a garden to be a place *on* a farm, and the farm to be the entirety of the land itself. When I talk about my garden, I’m speaking specifically of the plot where I grow my veggies, when I talk about my farm, I’m talking about where I live.


4 gardening June 27, 2012 at 5:43 pm

I love your description. Thank you.


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