Urban Farming Is A Thriving Industry!
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Urban and peri-urban farms already supply food to about 700 million city dwellers — one-quarter of the world’s urban population — and nearly all of the world’s population growth between now and 2030 will be concentrated in urban areas in developing countries, so that by then almost 60% of people in developing countries will live in cities. With this rapid growth in our cities, farming in and around urban areas needs to play a bigger role in feeding city populations.
- Involves using small plots such as vacant lots, gardens or roof tops in the city for growing crops.
- Can take many forms, from small “microfarms” to larger operations.
- Can also involve animal husbandry, aquaculture, agroforestry and horticulture.
- Is generally practiced for income-earning or food-producing activities, contributing to food security and food safety.
- Provides an outlet for better health and nutrition, increased income, employment, food security within the household, and community social life.
- Shows that planting increased numbers of gardens in a city environment improves air quality close to pollution sources.
- Gardens act as refuge for wildlife such as soil organisms, wild plants, insects, birds and amphibians thus increasing the biodiversity within the city environment.
- Can help in climate regulation through the absorption of greenhouse gases.
Urban Farming has been viewed for ages, as solely for subsistence purposes; however the production of crops directly in the urban areas has many additional economic, social and ecological benefits.
- Improves nutrition, as produce is fresh and less damaged when grown and distributed locally.
- Closes the nutrient loop, as domestic organic waste can be composted and processed into the soil for added nutrients and soil structure.
- Has the potential to alleviate two of the world’s most crucial problems: poverty and waste.
- Has the potential to provide economic regeneration and stability to the growing population.
- Organic city farming diverts nutrient rich waste from landfills or export and returns it to the land.
- Promotes sustainable development by reducing the vulnerability of the world’s urban populations to global ecological change.
- Reduction in crime has been noted when gardening projects are implemented in urban centers.
- Youth and even adults acquire self-esteem, stay busy and feel useful when participating in these programs.
- Naturally restores the human connection to nature by instilling a sense of stewardship in the farmer, creating a better appreciation of the land’s natural processes.
- Creates a feeling of community between people, which can facilitate further collective action on issues of local importance.
- Improves the aesthetics of the city by increasing the ‘green spaces’ in an otherwise concrete landscape while providing recreational opportunities for those who work the land.
- Increased gardens and plants in cities improve air quality close to pollution sources.
- On a large scale, it reduces transportation of produce; thus, less fuel is required by vehicles and less protective packaging is needed for the produce.
- Encourages the production of rare varieties of fruits and vegetables, as urban gardeners tend to cultivate a wider variety of crops, conserving unique cultivars and enhancing agricultural diversity.