Jean C. Corraliza- Urban Food Garden, Influence and Beauty


Hi, my name is Jean Carlos Corraliza, and this portfolio is named Urban Food Garden, Influence and Beauty. The licensing for this portfolio used is CC BY 4.0. (CC BY-SA-2.0, CC BY 2.0, CC BY-NC-SA-2.0)


The main focus on this portfolio is about the importance, the influence and the beauty of Urban Food Gardens have that represent an art form. This Gardens have existed for thousands of years but, as time passed, it was forgotten, and society was developed differently. Fast foods became part of the daily of people and Urban Food Gardening became unimportant for people. In the last decades there has been a movement that have push for healthy eating and Urban Food Gardens started to grow on different parts of the country. This movement has gathered people to grow a garden and help others create a conscious about the importance of these gardens. The main purpose of this portfolio is to expand this knowledge on Urban Food Gardens by demonstrating how art can be essential for the health of the community and to involve different generations of people into getting closer to nature. In order to understand these concepts better, I have chosen three aspects of Urban Food Gardening. These aspects are, the importance on society, the influence and legacy for future generation and the beauty it presents to the community.


In this portfolio I will be focusing on two themes. The one theme is Urban Food Gardens as an expression of art, mainly mention as beauty in this portfolio. Nature has delighted us with its beauty since the beginning of time, bringing people together in different ways. These gardens provide a place for people to join together, relax or celebrate an occasion in a relaxing environment where they can see what nature offers with the help of the people who maintain these gardens. The other theme focuses more on the significance and influence the urban food garden has on people. In the last few decades nature has suffer from natural disaster, like hurricanes or wildfires on forest, and negative uses of nature like construction of buildings where forest and gardens exist. For this reason, people need to understand the influence Urban Food Gardens has on the community as it helps people get involve in different activities concerning the environment, help the future generations learn and teach why is it so important to protect these gardens and learning to eat healthier by using the food provided by the garden.


For this portfolio I selected three images that represent the beauty, the importance and the involvement of the community as an activity for the Urban Food Gardens.


“Food Gardens, Channels, Vertical Farms – Shanghai Sustainable Masterplan” by Except Integrated Sustainability is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The first picture presents a community where the Urban Food Garden is on the left of picture. This picture is from Shanghai and shows how it is a beautiful spot where people can travel and see how the garden is being developed overtime. Shanghai’s Urban Food Garden is a tourism park located at Shanghai’s Fengxing District that houses more than 200 varieties of vegetables while also having a concept of beauty. The art of gardening has an impact that usually people do not credit it. The style of Gardening has changed from the beginning but, the main essence has not changed. Arranging plants in places where people can appreciate it brings a sense of joy to the community as they feel the same satisfaction as if they see a beautiful painting. This emotion is what moves people to cultivate gardens in places where they think it can make someone happy. In this era, people live in the city side and few live in the countryside and it is hard for the people living in the city to see nature as the city has a lot of buildings. For this reason, in different cities, like Shanghai, people have started creating gardens where people can get involve with nature and appreciate their beauty whenever they want. Some of these gardens become centers of attentions for people to spend time with their families as they are in a relaxing environment.

Shanghai is an example that demonstrates the process it took to create this garden through generations.  Since 1950s, the community planned and manage the food production. In modern times, the municipal government has taken efforts to safeguard food self-reliance by taking control of production and distribution to preserve the farms. With this help the food supply has been protected. This was possible by the community as they pushed for these policies to pass as they were persistent and taught their children the importance of the garden. As time pass on, those children participated in the protection of the garden. For this reason, the garden stands showing its beauty.


“Black Rock Solar – Urban Roots Garden Classrooms Field Trip” by Black Rock Solar is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The second image illustrates how the community is getting together to plant the garden. On the last image I explained how a community helped preserve a garden, but to protect a garden there are different things that are needed. By helping the next generation understand the concepts of planting, they can developed skills to maintain themselves. Gardening serves as a form of exercise (people practicing gardening outside their house are expose to Vitamin D), reduces stress and gives people a sense of distraction. All these effects influence the life style of a community as they helped people maintain a healthy life style and keeps them motivated to expand the gardens. As gardens are expanded, nature gets larger and therefore receives positive outcomes. One of these outcomes is the cleaning air done by the plants.

Furthermore, gardening also teaches responsibility to care for the foods and plans. Many people do not know how food is grown and farming is happening in parts where they do not see the process. By learning how to farm they will get a sense of responsibilities. Responsibilities are difficult to follow and for many people are hard, but gardening helps people understand what are these responsibilities. For example, by observing and caring for a plant by given it water and sunlight in specific times people learn how the biology behind the plants, organize time and follow their responsibilities. For families, kids will try to follow their parents actions and if their parents showed their determination to take care of a garden, in this case an Urban Food Garden, then their is high possibility children will try to take care of a garden. Thanks to the large movements in recent years, Urban Food Gardens have expanded and helped thousands of families with economic necessities as people can pick up the foods they need.    


“Prinzessinnengarten_mc_0266” by prinzessinnengarten is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

As of this moment, we have seen the beauty and the influence on people the Urban Food Gardens have. Finally we discuss the importance of these gardens. As stated previously, families are benefited by these gardens. On the above image we see different people picking up the food they need from the Urban Food Gardens. Some foods found in these gardens are radishes, mint, chives, kale, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, etc. The food people gather are essential for their families to have a healthy lifestyle. In addition, foods can be turned into another kind of art form as they can be mixed together and create piece. This  is possible with large variety the Food Gardens gives.

On the past, people started to grow their food supplies with the space they have. When people were struggling, the Urban Food Gardens helped cover their foods. As modern technology did not existed, foods could not be store and therefore perish so people had to grow their own foods. In later decades, people were obligated to sustained themselves since food were difficult to find during the 19th century and 20th century in countries like Paris and Cuba. During Wars, people had to grow foods at parks.

In the 21th century modern technology has become a part of everyone, farming had become less appreciated and people did not have an interest to farm. In the last decade, the movement mention previously, has grown. They have travel to different cities and have started their own Urban Food Gardens since they know the time is now and as of 30 years from now the necessity of food is going to increase by a lot. Examples of this are The Urban Food Gardens in California and South Central Urban Food Garden. These two examples have joined the community and have help families. When one of the gardens struggle, the community step up and they saved their garden showing their commitment for maintaining it.


The applications of Urban Food Gardens are positive for the whole community. From bringing people together to help people with economic needs, these gardens have shown us their importance and why they must be protected. All the gardens provided a relaxing place where people could spend time together and benefiting the community by helping them eat healthier (something fast foods for example have made harder to do) and raising awareness that nature has to be protected or it could be lost. Both aspects are what make Urban Food Gardens unique.

Throughout the semester I have learn different aspects of environments from videos, music and readings. Two specific materials that I feel that go hand to hand with my portfolio is the Urban Food Garden in South Central by Ron Finley and the Santa Cruz Community Garden. From the Urban Food Garden in South Central, Ron Finley has been an advocate to create and extend Urban Food Gardens, he even appear “Ted Talks” giving his story. He explains that the area he grew had little access to nutritious food and resulted in bad health conditions for the community. As he grew older, he step up and started to move the community. Even though he struggle against the city for permission, at the end he was granted the permission to start he’s Urban Food Garden. The Garden was successful and Ron Finley has visited more places to create more Urban Food Gardens. He adds that he wants to change the way people look at the word “gangsta” into a positive word and that parents involve their children into gardening and hence getting closer to nature. In Ron Finley words:  “I grow my art, just like a graffiti artist,…, I used the garden, the soil… You’d be surprised what the soil could do if you let it be your canvas” These words are an excellent example of how gardening can be an art. The soil is metaphor for the canvas of the artist and instead of drawing or painting, he is planting and creating his piece.

In addition to Urban Food Garden In South Central, The Santa Cruz Community Garden is another great example of why these gardens are beneficial for the community. A small piece of land had been transform into a garden but, it was property of the seaside company who in one year they tried to not renew the lease for the community garden. On October 27 of that year, the Santa Cruz community organize a march to city hall to ask to buy the land so they could have a community garden. They were followed by people from different ages, from children to adults, this community did not wanted to lose their garden. They knew the importance and especially what it meant to the youth. With this, the city council begun negotiations with the seaside company to buy the land. Even though the seaside company told they were not going to sell the land they added a three year lease. As the struggle continue, Dolores came with inspiring words which are related to the message I want to express on this portfolio. These words were, “If forty farmworkers many of them could not speak English could not read or write but were able to convince 17 million Americans to boycott grapes, then we could convince, whatever we need to do to keep this land that we can make it happen.” These words represent the will of the people to protect the community garden since it is important for everyone to take care of the garden they have created.

As I conclude this portfolio, I want to motivate the reader to go out there and make the difference, even if it is starting from home, a small step to change is always needed. As more people join the cause, the community garden become a greater possibility and later a reality. These gardens are for the people in the present and for the future generations to live in a more beautiful and healthier world.


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Health and Environmental Humanities Artistic Expression Portfolio Copyright © by The Students of HUM2020 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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