Take a look at the sidewalk in front of your apartment. If it's wider than four feet, there's a good chance that you can break up the perimeter, cart it away, and replace it with chard. Or mint. Or beans. Or a lemon tree. If you're a tenant, you can do it with a landlord's signature. (If the sidewalk is already cracking, it's going to be cheaper for said landlord to convert it back to dirt than replace the concrete.) All it takes is paperwork, the mundane glue that binds us to civil society. Urban greenscaping nonprofit Plant*SF aims to facilitate your dreams of urban-ag food security.
The frugal take note: If you band together with neighbors to form a kind of survivalist gardening cult, the permit costs go down to $160. We guarantee you this: Finding empty bottles of Night Train in your cabbage patch will never get old. If it does, we advise reading Bill McKibben's "The Cuba Diet" until indomitable plant mojo returns.