I KNOW WELL the pride these rooftop farmers in China have for their gardens, as shown in this video by the Perennial Plate. I’ve felt it myself over the past three years that I’ve been gardening. The plants become like your kids — you plant the seeds, provide a nurturing environment, give them tender care throughout their young lives, sometimes even sing to them. Then you eat them.

So maybe the last part doesn’t work well in the analogy, but you get my point. Food somehow tastes much better when you’ve grown it with your own hands. It’s like you realize how love tastes, because that’s what goes into it. As cities around the world continue their sprawl, it seems utilizing available urban space will become more of a necessity as time goes on.

Not only might it be practical, but it can be important for emotional and mental well-being. We are creatures that belong to nature, and to isolate ourselves from it in the concrete jungles we build deprives us of a very fundamental aspect of life. Gardening — whether on the rooftop in the midst of a metropolis or in the backyard of your rural home — forces us to slow our lives down, to focus and pay our undivided attention to something. It reconnects us with our natural environment.

Start small, don’t be put off by anyone who doubts you (like the Beijing farmer below), and learn from your mistakes. Because you will make them. But that’s part of the fun, the act of letting go of a little bit of control and just seeing what happens: