With an estimated 55% of the world’s population living in urban centres, a number expected to increase to 65% by 2050, many wonder how this will change how we live together. One mounting question is how can we live sustainably in dense living quarters? Urban agriculture has been heralded as a possible solution to make urban environments more engaging, sustainable, and welcoming places to live.
What is Urban Agriculture?
Urban agriculture can be defined as growing, processing, and distributing food within a city. Typically, it refers to produce, like fruit, vegetables and herbs, but it can also include rearing livestock.
History of Urban Agriculture
The local food movement may seem like a recent phenomenon but people have been growing food within city limits for a long time. During the 1800s, allotment gardens popped up to help alleviate poverty and increase access to food. During WWII, Victory gardens were promoted by the US and Canadian government as a way to support the war effort. Citizens were encouraged to grow food to help with food production.
Today, various forms of urban agriculture are being researched as a means to increase community engagement, improve access to local food resources, and educate the public. However, the benefits of growing food within a city go far beyond
Benefits of Urban Agriculture
Growing food within, or around a city supports job growth and creation. Additionally, it decreases food insecurity by increasing access to food.
Increasing the amount of plants in an urban environment can improve air quality, decrease energy building costs, moderate urban island effect, and increase biodiversity.
People that take part in community gardens and other forms of urban agriculture have improved emotional health, increase physical activity and feel more connected to their community.
With so many benefits to urban agriculture it is evident we have just scratched the surface of what we can grow in an urban environment. Over the next couple of weeks we will explore places around the world trying to incorporate urban agriculture into their cities.