There has been a huge push this year in Seattle and King County to focus on changing the laws on community gardens to promote backyard gardens and develop more P-Patches. Overall, the idea is to allow residents to sell produce grown in their backyards and in community gardens to encourage developing a more local, and sustainable, foodshed.
I applaud this on all counts for all the obvious reasons. Giving residents more control over how and where they get their food is not only beneficial, but it adds to our local food security.
But, that's not enough to feed everyone in an urban area. Unfortunately, local politicians haven't been putting as much focus on local agriculture and fostering that as much as these Urban Agricultural Initiatives we are seeing. I guess supporting plain ol' farms and farmers isn't as sexy as groundbreaking new community gardens in abandoned plats or giving people permission to set up a farmstand in their driveway.
If we are going to truly focus on local food security, local agriculture must take the spotlight and promoting agricultural land, farmers markets and connecting residents with the farmers should be the priority. Somehow though, what should be considered supplemental, has been the focus of funding, much to the detriment to those who spend their livelihoods trying to make sure we have not only consistent land to farm, but food to eat.
What do you think? What role should individuals growing food in urban areas have in building a local food economy be in comparison, or addition, to more traditional (yet sustainable) agriculture? If we have limited public funding to spend on food security, where should it go?