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The Urban Ton Project – 1 ton of food on our urban city lot

Roasted Beet Salad. We pulled the first of our beets from the ground (a candy-cane type) and roasted them in the oven with carrots, green onions, and garlic scapes.

Our attempt to organically grow 1 ton of food on our urban city lot!

By Kate n Daniel Vickery

From their blog:

Can you grow the majority of the food you eat?

Thinking about trying to grow a ton of food on our urban lot recently led us to a discussion of how much food we eat in a year. According to the USDA the average american adult eats about 4.7 lbs of food a day. So in a year the average person is eating 1717 pounds of food! That means if my wife and I are “average americans” we will consume a combined 3434 pounds of food.

If we are able to achieve the “Urban Ton,” and we eat what we produce, we would be growing 58% of our food by weight from our urban lot!

That means the Urban Ton Project is also a demonstration to the ability of an urban couple to produce the majority of their food from their own city lot.

Urban Ton Background

When my wife and I moved to St. Paul, MN in 2008 we decided we would focus on planting a primarily edible landscape. Over the past two years we have drastically changed our 0.2 acre lot from a series of overgrown flower beds, bushes, and trees into what is becoming our own urban oasis. As we have discussed, planned, designed, and occasionally even fought over the future of our landscape a question frequently arose: Just how much food could we produce on our urban lot?

From that question The Urban Ton Project was born…
Can we grow 1 ton (that is 2,000 lbs.) of food in a single year from our urban home?

Here are the Rules:

1.) Everything must be harvested from January 1st to
December 31st in the same calendar year.
2.) Everything must be grown on our property.
3.) Only organic methods may be used.
4.) Each day any crops harvested will be weighed and
recorded by crop type.
5.) Backyard grazing (e.g. eating tomatoes off the vine) of unweighed foods will not count.
6.) Food lost to damage, insects, dogs, chickens (our backyard pets) or any other cause will not be counted.
7.) Inputs will not be counted against the goal but will be
recorded (i.e. chicken feed, purchased compost, seeds etc..).
8.) No single crop can count for more than 20% of the total (no mono-crops here).

See their interesting blog here.

1 comment

1 urbanite { 06.18.10 at 10:00 pm }

This would be an interesting challenge for Canadians too, and probably quite feasible for those of us living on the left coast 🙂

Now, if Canadian Gov’t would just bring back the One Ton [Carbon Reduction] Challenge, we could all aspire to a early One Ton Reduction + One Ton of Home grown Food. That really would be something to see!

Wishing Kate n Daniel much good luck in achieving their goal, and will check the blog occasionally.

Thanks, city farmer, for another *great* post!