Thursday, August 15, 2019

The Zen of Urban Farming

As you may know, I've published a few books and I'm working on this new book where I share my gardening experience along with other situations in life, business and social impact which makes me think, what if I use my experience in urban farming to explain these situations, will it help with understand and make you a better farmer as well?

How gardening experience can help you improve critical thinking. 

I have been planting various herbs and vegetables at home for more than 10 years and worked on numerous urban farming projects from hydroponics to aquaponics, from home plant kits to potted plants and fruit trees in my garden. I have killed my fair share of plants and tried many ways to propagate my plants.

I volunteered for various NGOs and consulted for businesses and foundations on projects to enhance their social impact. I have also done this for almost 20 years and published another book “Good Intentions are not Enough – Why we fail at helping others.” 

I am the co-founder of Civil Innovation Lab which is a multidisciplinary group of international social innovators and entrepreneurs responsible for a series of initiatives dedicated to transform inefficiencies, bridge gaps, address value creation and connect stakeholders.

I could see a lot of parallels with gardeners trying to do the best for their plants, sometimes killing them by lack of knowledge and experience, and the volunteers and donors who want to create social impact but in many cases, cause harm to the ecosystem by “over-helping”

So, for urban farmers who are trying to create social impact, or social entrepreneurs who are interested in gardening, I’d like to share my experiences which teach me that many things that we do are actually quite connected.

Gardening can also bring tranquility and calmness. Meditation and Zen teaching are all better with plants as well. Besides social impact, gardening can help explain many things about business, innovation and human behavior as well.

Urban farming is also a way where I can relax from a stressed out day living in the city. With a little time with your plants to help you focus, new ideas and solutions can come from the experience.

-- Robin Low