Urban farming has been on a steady increase for many years now as space for agriculture creeps closer to cities and consumers look to reconnect with what they eat. As well as appealing to the health and environmentally conscious market, these systems often seek to achieve community benefits; providing opportunities and education for disadvantaged and minority groups. The size and purpose of urban agricultural systems can range enormously, encompassing: allotments, vertical farming, agroparks and community gardens, ranging from subsistence to industrial sized operations.
By Antoinette WinkerPrins
Urban cultivation (UC) refers to a range of practices at various scales that include the growing, processing, and marketing of crops (often called urban agriculture), the tending of livestock, and apiculture, in urban and peri-urban areas, mostly for consumption in the same urban space (WinklerPrins 2017). According to the United Nations, the world population is increasingly urbanizing, currently at about 54% but trending toward at least 66% by 2050, and with much higher rates in many parts of the globe (UN 2014).
Today is the second day of the Urban Agriculture Summit 2013 ’Transformative solutions on how we feed people in the urban era’ currently being held in Linköping, Sweden (29-31 January). So why this specific gathering on urban agriculture? A recent UN report estimated that the Earth’s population will increase by 40% and exceed 9 billion people by the year 2050. Simultaneously, 80% of the world’s population will live in cities. This rapid urbanization goes together with a rapid increase in urban poverty and urban food insecurity. With traditional farming practices and increases in consumption, the Earth’s arable land will soon no longer be sufficient to produce enough food for the growing population. Urban agriculture can provide a complementary strategy to reduce urban poverty and food insecurity and enhance urban environmental management.