What We Learned From the Farmers of CHAZ

Finding a way to ethically grow food in an urban environment is not easy, however, the people of CHAZ still managed to thrive despite the challenges.

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Getting Started, With What We Have

Garden Upcycling With Cardboard: How To Use Cardboard In The Garden

The biggest challenge that CHAZ faces in agriculture is a lack of infrastructure. If Seattle had put in place urban agriculture plans, then getting these farms started would have been much easier. As it stands, residents need to find a way to build farming infrastructure with what they have. Luckily, they have an ace in the hole they might not have even known about. Cardboard can be up-cycled into everything from planters, garden paths, and even garden beds. It’s easy to recycle a protest sign into a number of garden essentials. Also, it is easy to convert wooden traffic sawhorses into a reclaimed wood planter box. This is a great first step in creating a productive urban garden, and it’s free.

What Crops We Can Plant Today

Pink Fur Apple Potato Harvest | If you wish to use this, sim… | Flickr

Picking the right crop to grow can be hard. Deciding between something that can be grown fast, and provides adequate nutrients can feel impossible. However there is an age old super crop that can keep your stomach full and will grow just about anywhere – the potato. The humble spud can provide enough nutritious value to sustain a human indefinitely.  It may be hard to believe, but there are many people, even celebrities like Penn Jilette who have survived for months, even years on just potatoes. However, the farms of CHAZ don’t need to exclusively grow potatoes, they can also grow other superfoods such as: kale, beans, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes.

Why We Must Grow Local

We are decades behind schedule on the local growing movement. If we had been more proactive, we may have saved the people of CHAZ from a lot of the trouble they will have to go through establishing new farms. However, now is not the time to lament the inaction of the previous failed system. CHAZ is a chance to start fresh, and the best way to transition exclusively to fresh, locally sourced food. Beyond food, CHAZ also has a chance to employ local craftspeople and artisans, to create locally made clothes and tableware. The pressure is on the residents of CHAZ to show the world the power of local agriculture and artisanship.

The Future of CHAZ Farming

If the people of CHAZ follow the plans I have laid out and truly become self sustainable, they will have a bright future. A future where they will not be reliant on the unethical and unsustainable practices of industrialized farming. Despite the humble beginnings of reused cardboard planter boxes, in time CHAZ will be able to build and maintain stunning urban greenhouses. They will also quickly be able to diversify their crops to provide both delicious and nutrient rich food. The CHAZ farming future is one where everyone will be able to get locally grown food that they can feel good about eating. To anyone who is taking part in CHAZ’s agriculture project, I want to personally thank you – you may not know it, but you are taking the first steps towards the utopian future of farming.

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Norm Wilson

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mmmyes farmer froge

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