The term ‘agriculture’ might evoke thoughts of a rural landscape. You might think of rolling fields and farmland. What you might not think of is a sprawling urban terrain, dense with light and noise pollution. But urban agriculture is a rising trend with the potential to solve some of the biggest challenges facing our planet today.
Traditional agriculture is waning
While large-scale, rural agriculture is still dominant across the globe, rapid urbanization and processes like deforestation are reducing the amount of fertile land available for sustainable farming. In the short-term, food supply will not be an issue. However, in the long-term, reducing yields coupled with an ever-increasing global population could spell disaster. So where does urban agriculture come in?
The use of urban space and continuing development of smart farming solutions could be key to supplement the rural food supply to feed the mega cities of the future. With expanding urban sprawls, more land will be lost to skyscrapers and property ventures. Hence why maximizing the little space available for urban agriculture will be essential in creating a sustainable future.
Commercial and home growing
Urban agriculture relies on imagination with regards to utilizing small spaces. Home growers can make use of whatever space they have with readily available home-growing equipment. Alternatively, just a few square feet might be enough to develop a commercial operation with the use of smart farming technology. Whatever space is available, urban agriculture is an innovative solution to bolster sustainability in dense city regions.
The benefit to cities
Growing food in cities can have succinct social, health and environmental benefits. While it may not have a significant impact on the air pollution in densely populated areas, urban agriculture is the first step in a transition towards reducing carbon emissions globally, with less reliance on foreign food supplies.
There’s evidence to indicate that those who participate in small community gardens are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables. This highlights the potential health and social benefits of urban farming, which could have a significant impact on increasing global obesity rates. City-dwellers are often disengaged with the food production process and thus urban agriculture can also be a way to nurture connection between populations and the sustenance they consume.
Furthermore, having a community activity to participate in can help to bolster social cohesion. Communities which have access to a shared garden tend to come closer together, as well as providing a valuable means of sharing essential skills.
Urban agriculture is still a developing concept and one that will ultimately play a huge part in feeding populations across the world. Further funding and research are vital to challenge the issues facing the planet today, but everyone can play a part no matter what resources and space is available to them.