I just updated the page on my “Four G’s” for preparing for the coming storm. I realized that my comments in particular about gardening didn’t necessarily work for urban situations. Here is what I added.
Appendix: Urban Agriculture Ideas
I wrote this for my family. We live in a small town in a very rural state, so it doesn’t have an urban context. I do have some familiarity with urban life – I’m writing this while visiting friends in Seattle’s Queen Anne Hill, where homes have yards the size of a postage stamp. So while I am not any kind of expert on urban agriculture, perhaps I can provide some ideas to help you get started creating your own expertise.
> An amazing amount of food can be grown in small areas.
> The traditional large plot of ground tilled up and planted in rows isn’t the only, or the best, way to have a garden. Get to your library and explore the many ways to garden intensively.
> Think outside the lines of whatever lawn you may have. There is probably space for growing food along the house, along fences, on decks, and in areas you now have in landscaping.
> Form partnerships with your neighbors. Tear down metaphorical and literal fences, merge your backyards and create a large garden space; or you can offer to grow as much of one thing on your available space, if they agree to grow something else in theirs, and someone else grows a lot of something different.
> If you are an apartment dweller; you’re not necessarily screwed in terms of growing food.
* Community gardens have a long history in urban areas. However, my impression is that they are few and far between. So scout around for undeveloped ground, form a partnership with other people like yourself, and figure out how to turn that space into a garden. Many churches have open spaces on their grounds; the right church should be willing to work out turning some of their open space into a community garden area.
* Do you have friends in the suburbs? Form a partnership with them and plan a garden.
> An alternative to (or on conjunction with) growing and storing your own food is buying and storing food. Think of it as an investment. Whatever you can buy and store now will be worth much more in the future.
> If storage space is an issue, you might want to look into prepared meals
* Military MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) are available from any number of mail order companies. There are a wide range of choices, and they are fairly tasty. Search the Internet for “survival food”.
* There are also companies like foodinsurance.com that sell freeze dried meals in quantity. This company, for instance, offers a plan with enough food to feed a family of five for three months. While it represents a definite financial investment, for many people it offers an alternative to gardening, or storing large quantities of canned goods.
No matter how you do it though, the goal is the same; strive to become as self sufficient as you can so that you are not a burden on others, and so that you can be a source of God’s generosity to others.
If you have other creative solutions, please share them here in the form of a comment. I would be particularly interested to hear how churches can help their members and communities prepare.