A crash course in changing the world.
To improve food security in my neighborhood, I built stone-walls on a sloped hillside near our home. The walls prevent erosion, allowing my family to grow herbs and vegetables in place of grass. Growing our food reduces transportation costs by limiting the number of times we travel to the grocery store. Because vegetables loose nutritional value the minute they are picked, our family gets more energy from eating less food.
Technically, it is against public policy to plant or build in the land between the sidewalk and road. However, local authorities have seen the new gardens and have not objected. Neighbors love the gardens, and we encourage anyone to help themselves to our produce. It is my opinion that to create food-secure cities, we must abandon policies that discourage urban farming.
If you are interested in building stone walls, below are materials you'll need. Read this guide and get started. Note: The stones were donated by a local landscaping company, but I could have used urbanite or stones from a local riverbed. Stones were odd-shaped, making building more time-consuming, but for free, I won't complain.
Spade Shovel: To move dirt around.
Flat shovel (optional): To level the base for your stones
Hammer: Make stones fit together by chipping off unwanted edges. Pack dirt into cracks with hammer to make wall more sturdy.
Level (optional): a level wall, with a level base will withstand the elements more effectively.
Eye Protection: Sungla**** or safety glass are necessary when chipping edges with hammer.
Stones or Urbanite (concrete chunks): This will be make up the majority of your wall.
Loose Soil: Used to fill in the space between stones.
Coarse sand (optional): used to improve drainage and level the base of wall.
One common objection to Urban Farming is that it is ugly, and decreases property value. However. I think it's clear stone-walls look good, and provide value. What do you think?
To view more photos of the stone wall vegetable beds, click here.