I have decided that is high time we tackle this topic as my next article because in fact is a pretty hot topic of conversation. Especially in Berlin, where we have incredible startups like infarm, who specialise in hydroponic production in urban areas, supplying restaurants, supermarkets and much more, and therefore cutting down on the food miles as in most places their setup is installed in-house.
It’s a common question I get asked from time to time in relation to growing food in the city for consumption, especially in the urban permaculture garden that I was up until recently managing in the heart of Berlin, tucked away behind a very busy road, and a stone’s throw away from the highway. ‘Don’t we need to be careful of contaminants and pollution levels when growing in an urban environment?’. And the answer is yes, but only to a certain degree. So what is that degree? And what should we be mindful of?
For many, it is taught from a young age to stay as far away from soil as possible – getting dirty is a bad thing and therefore soil is a bad thing. But soil is an important part of our lives and history and we wouldn’t be here without it. It is the birthplace of the vast array of plants we see covering the earth, including the ones in our gardens.