IMG_8268

I live in an urban area, and there is one fact we all have to accept; We can’t grow all our food in the city. Many people try, but it comes down to making choices. You have to select what you can grow best on your city lot. Most city dwellers have small growing areas, no outdoor area but a balcony or small patio out their condo/apartment, so the idea of growing all their food in an urban area is not realistic.

If we do have land, it is not acreage that we can produce all the different foods we need, for example, our grains for organic home baking. Our homes are lots with closely placed buildings, cemented walkways/driveways, privacy walls, or neighbors that don’t want to see your urban farm over their fence. We have to be good neighbors and learn how to work with what we have to grow and live peacefully with the people we share our city streets.

I want to practice living organically in the city, and I do try to make the changes necessary to make that happen, for example, I do grow all of my salad makings on our city lot. We eat seasonally so when the weather dips in the single digits for weeks, and our salad greens that are not protected don’t grow or just give up we do not eat salad greens from the big boxed stores. This past week they had salad greens in bags that were recalled for making people sick. If I do try to purchase salad greens at the local grocery store they are usually grown in Mexico and packaged in the USA. I figure if I can’t keep my lettuce growing under cover than it is time to live on our kale which does great in the single digits.

cropped-2011-front-yard-orange-zinnia-veggies-sept-9th-010_edited-2.jpg

I do not grow any animal protein on our city lot. I tend to live mostly on a plant based diet, but occasionally I do purchase humanely raised eggs/chicken. It is not legal to have chickens in our city. Some urban areas allow chickens; Ours is not one of those communities. Some people do risk having chickens on their city lot, but I don’t have the space to raise chickens. I don’t eat chicken every day, but when I do eat chickens or eggs, I want to purchase it humanely raised.

IMG_8805
garlic is one crop  easily grown on a city lot

I have watched all the horrible documentaries about our factory farms and how cruel we are to animals in the USA. I can’t even watch the entire video often turning away, and when I do shop at the grocery store, I pay attention to where my food is grown, how it is taken care of, and how it is processed. It does make a difference when you take the time to support farmers that are committed to the humane rearing of animals.

I feel Organic living in the city must embrace this attitude. We can’t continue to raise animals in the cruel way we have forever. It needs to stop. When I spend my hard earned money on any animal protein, it needs to be given to those companies that do it the right way. I found the label “American Humane Certified ” on a chicken I purchased. This stamp ensures the chicken I purchased was humanely raised!

I purchased my first BARE (brand) raised chicken that was American Humane Certified. I realize our family does eat a plant-based diet most of the time, but we do occasionally incorporate some animal protein. If we do, I am grateful I have the reassurance that the chicken I purchased, at least, was treated well.

onions, carrots and garlic grown on our city lot
onions, carrots and garlic grown on our city lot

I live in the breadbasket of the USA, and I grew up eating fish from Lake Michigan. I never thought twice about eating fish for it was part of our Scandanavian life-style. My great grandparents were from those countries. I have to admit, I never got used to our Norwegian Pickled Herring on the table! I did love the salmon my father would catch from Lake Michigan on the weekends, fish boils, smoked salmon or fresh smelt from Lake Michigan! It was just a way of life. We did not eat that much red meat, but we did eat a lot of fish and chicken. I am bringing this up since I now live away from the Chicago suburbs and a bit closer to the Farms in the central part of Illinois.You go outside our large cities, and it is farmland for miles and miles!

Many of the local people in our city grew up on farms and raised their animals for food. The younger generation moved away from the farms and closer to urban areas for their schooling or careers. They remember grandparents that raised all their food on the farm. They did not have grocery stores supplying all their food. I compare their feelings about eating farm animals the way I saw fish. It was a way of life and just how we ate. The animals were treated humanely.

The problem today with our factory farms is how awful the animals are treated and what they pump into the animals. I don’t need to share the gory details for you can just check out youtube and find several documentaries to observe these practices. It is enough to make you never want to purchase an animal protein again in your life from the local grocery store!

Since we can’t raise all our food living organically in the city, we have to trust others to watch over the animals. The American Humane Association has created a program to help us city dwellers make wise choices when purchasing our animal protein at the local food store. Organic Living in the City means taking the time to care about how the animals are treated.

homemade lovage soup from our garden
homemade lovage soup from our garden

Today when I purchased a chicken I felt better knowing that I supported a farmer that was doing the right thing. It does matter. If you do want to live more organically in the city, please make the effort to care for our animals. Buy only food with their stamp of approval!The American Humane Association developed  the first welfare certification program in the United States which ensures all our farm animals are treated properly.The American Humane Certified™ program provides third-party, independent verification that certified producers’ care and handling of farm animals meet the science-based animal welfare standards of American Humane Association. The program provides ongoing outreach to farmers in the implementation of the best humane practices for animals. American Humane Association is working on a new educational curriculum for children on farm animals to help educate our children about where our food comes from and ensure future generations are invested in the humane treatment of farm animals.”(read more about their progams)

Written by Robbie

M.S. Education, , Organic Gardener, soil + nature lover, former modern dancer

2 comments

  1. We’ve been working to get all of our animal protein from the farmer’s market. It makes knowing how the animals were raised a lot easier when I can talk to the person who raised them.

    1. I agree the farmer’s market is a great place to get your animal protein. Some of them let you visit their farms. I believe that is the way to do it:-) I know our local grocery chain put up “signs/pictures” in front of food items, so we can see where our food is grown. I had a slip of paper in my egg carton the other day from an Amish family that raised our eggs. I feel so much better supporting farmers that are trying to do the right thing by our animals. I don’ t eat much animal protein these days-but when I do, I sure do check:-)

Comments are closed.