Due to an ever rising world population, farmers are turning to different sources for farming and agriculture. One of these is urban farming.
Urban farming involves growing food and crops in a populated area rather than an isolated agricultural land.
Basically, as the name suggests, this method of agriculture takes place in urban cities.
More people are encouraged to start this type of farming on their rooftops or backyards now.
So what is it and can it help decrease world hunger?
Let’s find out in this article!
What is Urban Farming?
The produce from urban farming is not grown to be consumed personally but to be sold.
Hence, it is different from subsistence farming, homesteading and community gardening.
These involve sharing the produce for personal use whereas an individual can carry out urban agriculture for commercial use.
Either an individual, a group of friends, neighbors or a non-profit organization can run it.
Hence, you do not need to have a big land to do it.
It just needs to be in a community in a city or in areas with a high population.
This makes its products for food trade and selling more plausible than leisure and personal consumption.
Moreover, it has different sales outlets.
You can sell it to your local farmer’s market, restaurants, charity and church but the main idea remains that it should go to the consumer from the producer.
The producer cannot be the sole consumer of the produce.
This form of agriculture is paving way for people to learn and get access to locally grown food.
It also gives locals access to homegrown food that is lost as culture and gets a taste of local delicacies.
If people start growing healthy food on their own they learn about how to produce it, the farming practices involved, how to transfer it and how to treat it after harvesting.
Essentially, they learn more about food and agriculture and how to establish food security.
Knowledge about this can help to minimize food losses in transportation.
Plus, it gives the urban consumer the right to know all this and they have a say in what to grow when they earlier did not.
Plus, a few urban farm centers are for training local farmers and encouraging people to adopt this agriculture method.
They also assist in maintaining food quality, improving food access and transportation.
Overall it improves farm efficiency and brings more economic opportunities to the area.
Urban Agriculture Importance
By implementing this method of agriculture, you inform and educate your community to make food products.
Since some of these are exclusively for teaching about this type of farming and training urban farmers.
It improves access to food for local communities and can provide an outlet to continue traditional culinary cultures.
When you make local communities understand how this business works.
This gives them more liberty to have a say in what food is grown, harvested and finally sold and transported.
Moreover, it can help in improving the local food system.
Its purpose can be to provide food justice across communities reducing hunger.
This will aid in providing fresh food for people who are socio-economically disadvantaged.
Therefore you have more control over the products grown and produced in a local food system.
It is also beneficial commercially.
You will save on transportation of food.
Thus, it will be a more environmentally friendly and financially beneficial way to produce crops.
When more people know about urban farms, it can become the frontline of agriculture.
Communities that know about this farming, turn out to be more responsible consumers and also producers.
As a result, the lives of the people of the community improve.
There is less hunger, more responsible consumption and distribution as well as better food quality.
Urban farming provides an alternative to agricultural land in the ever-growing population and urbanization.
This allows more outlets for the production of food and even distribution.
Therefore, it increases food sources as well the community’s access to fresh food items.
Moreover, community farming improves the value of the property as well as the social behavior and bonding of the community.
Thus, people may gather together to tilling the soil in a community and establish new friendships.
Thus having a societal impact. More on that later!
Types of Urban Farming
People make community gardens in the street to make the neighborhood look beautiful and also freshen the air quality.
They are by the street and can reduce stormwater.
Growing crops in your backyard is essentially the easiest way to carry out individual urban agriculture.
You can grow it within your backyard but can give it to your friends, family, neighbors and charity as there is a surplus harvest.
Moreover, people can also share their backyards, increasing the yield.
Greenhouses give urban growers the opportunity to grow crops all year round and even form a winter garden.
You can set up one in commercial and residential green space.
Thus as the land is big enough you can make one in communal urban spaces to plant crops all year round.
If you do not have enough space down horizontally, you can always go up.
Vertical Farming is a way to grow by decreasing the agricultural footprint.
By using green walls, you can utilize less space and plant sideways.
It uses the soil that is already present on walls and grows fruits and vegetables in internal and external space.
The rooftop space is an ideal location to plant crops, herbs and vegetables.
It can purify the air and also reduce the urban heat island.
What’s more, they brighten up the space by adding recreational value to it.
This involves the practice of growing gardens within an urban forest.
It not only helps to grow more fruits and vegetables, but it also aids in combating deforestation.
Through tree planting and forests, the environment favors crop development.
Afforestation also helps to reduce global warming.
This method of gardening makes good use of the limited space available.
Making a garden in an empty parking lot is a good example.
It can help to utilize the extra space that would otherwise go to waste but without additional expenses.
Hence, you spend less and now have a spot for making more food for the community.
Economic and Environmental Benefits
Urban development in the form of agriculture and farming creates new employment opportunities for people.
It can give rise to businesses dealing with the products and also earn a living with the businesses.
Along with providing employment to people in that community.
Also, an area with gardens increases the value of the residential area.
As a result, the government saves expenses on maintaining the land and it also restricts people from vandalizing the spare land.
Also, environmentally urban farming benefits include:
- stormwater runoff
- improving biodiversity
- purifying the air
- reducing the urban heat island impact.
Moreover, there is less use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and herbicides.
This happens because people usually carry out organic farming which does not use synthetic material to fight pests and grow crops organically.
Moreover, there is a chance of saving indigenous crops.
These farms are home to pollinators hence new crops breed by the sharing of seeds and you can also save those that will not grow in other conditions.
Since the consumption and production of foods from urban farms are in the same place, it decreases carbon footprint.
There are lesser carbon emissions from transportation.
Moreover, the greenery through forestry acts as a carbon sink.
Therefore, environmentally and economically, there is more to benefit from using these urban farms.
Societal, Cultural and Health Benefits
When you educate and train people about urban agriculture, it gives them the opportunity to try it on their own.
What’s more, is that this training and practice helps to bring communities together.
It allows neighbors and other community members to come together and put the underused property to good use.
Moreover, when community members interact for a cause, they build a strong bond.
It can assist in making other decisions as well as those related to farming.
Hence, the community can be dedicated to environmental protection and organize and advocate likewise decisions that help the community.
Moreover, it will give you the opportunity to interact with people from different cultures.
This can maintain the cultural practices of different communities in one place with respect to farming.
Such as preserving indigenous herbs and crops.
When food is produced in a community, they are also well aware of the people who go hungry within the community.
Hence, the community can ensure that the price is affordable and fresh.
This also reduces the cost of living by getting food at an affordable price at your local community.
Since the product will be fresh then the demand for fruits and vegetables will also increase.
Moreover, you can also donate extra food to charity banks or low-income families to help them to eat fresh food.
Also, as there is lesser transportation, there are fewer nutrient losses through food damage.
Furthermore, this food reduces the dependence on processed foods giving people a healthier lifestyle.
Urban Farming can raise a healthier community that eats well and has a strong bond.
You do not require huge space to carry it out but it is better done with members of the community than individually.
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