Today I was going through some books that I read a while ago to refresh myself. In one of them, The No-Nonsense Guide to World Food, I came across the idea of the Working Landscape, which really intrigues me. the Working Landscape is essentially the idea of a farm being a commodity AND a service to the public. For example, a farmer with a river running though his property would be compensated by the public waterworks for pre-cleansing water by planting tall grasses that act as a natural water filter on his riverbanks. The grass also becomes an ecosystem for animals, who want to be near a water source.
When it's looked at in terms of urban land, where the land itself is often worth as much as what can be produced on it, there seems to be a lot of potential and I think that the Working Landscape can be adapted to an urban situation in some way. First, to reclaim a vacant or under-used piece of property within the city, and then to put it to beneficial use would be only the beginning. Planting native grasses to store carbon can also shelter animals. The land could produce food for nearby residents, and generate income for those that work on it. It can act as a community center by bringing people together. It can act as an education tool to teach children about healthy eating.
Starting to think about city spaces as working landscapes has so many possibilities, it's almost unbelievable that it's taken so long.