Unnatural gardening

The sad saga of the Thomas Street, Box Hill garden that was posted on Lucazoid’s site got us looking at urban agriculture.

The residents had turned the entire backyard into an organic vegetable garden only to discover their landlord was a lawn lover who considered they had damaged the property. The whole garden had to be ripped out and the lawn replanted – not everyone appreciates the adaptive reuse of their lawn.

There is another great Australian urban gardening site here describing a garden near the centre of Bendigo.

Being a sports hater I particularly liked the argument against sport:

Industrial agriculture triumphs when it comes to eliminating labour costs. I have a simple answer to this: STOP PLAYING SPORT! Middle-class folks now spend five to twenty hours a week at the gym!!! Football players train twice a week and devote at least one day of their weekends to football. Convert this “labour” to gardening – end of labour problem.Three in ten hospital beds are taken up by victims of sports injuries! Sport is pointless, dangerous, mindless and unproductive and most sports, in fact, are nothing but training for warfare and perpetuate a militariastic culture. My panacea for the world’s ills is stop playing sport and take up gardening – then in future efficiency calculations count all labour hours as “recreation”.

Right on!!! And any reader naively thinking that carpet can be adaptively reused as a weed suppressor should check out the reasons his site is named half an acre of carpet.

But lawn-loving landlords notwithstanding, not everyone disapproves of urban farming, in fact some cities actively support it. And increasingly there are more technological versions of urban farming like this project to adapt a trailer as a glass house for hydroponic gardening.


But why stop at small scale efforts, think big! If cities are the problem why can’t they become the solution, that is the key to the adaptive reuse philosophy. Why not use city buildings for farming or even build skyscraper farms?

The Vertical Farm Project has been advocating the development of vertical farming technology and documenting all aspects of the concept, but we have an ingrained suspicion of high tech solutions to problems that are basically caused by human greed and that ultimately require socio-political solutions.

However, problems should also be looked at from all angles and often need more than one solution. Anyway, even combining office and farm in one building would be pretty good….why not adaptively reuse the city?

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