As the human population grows, more people continue to starve worldwide. Whether its rural areas or urban cities, people are hungry everywhere. According to a report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there has been a substantial increase in the number of people who are bound to survive in areas with limited access to grocery stores, supermarkets or other sources of healthy food.
Since the widespread awareness of global warming, it has become almost a necessity to move towards an ecofriendly living. Adopting urban farming is one step that you can take towards sustainable life.
Importance of Urban Farming
Urban agriculture or commonly known as urban farming, refers to growing plants and rearing animals that produce food within a city or town. It also comprises processing and then distributing that produce throughout the city.
Because of the technological upgrade, you can grow food in places where it was previously difficult or nearly impossible. Urban farms can be either traditional small outdoor community gardens or modern vertical farms in urban design. These futuristic farms can be designed in various ways, but most of them have rows of racks lined with plants rooted in nutrient-rich soil, water or just air.
In urban farming, plants are grown with the help of PAR or photo synthetically active radiation. As all lights are not suitable for plants, PAR represents the amount of light that can help in photosynthesis. Usually, PAR ranges from 400 to 700 nm of light. Monitoring the PAR is important as to ensure whether the plants are getting the required light. Now you can do smart farming without the unpredictable weather conditions.
In fact, the Resource Centre for Urban Agriculture & Forestry (RUAF) has recognized the importance of urban farming in poverty-affected areas, and has collaborated with NGOs and experts to educate the communities about the advantages of urban farming.
From simple community vegetable gardens to providing healthy food to consumers in the nearby areas, with smart technology, urban farming can go anywhere. In metropolitan cities and areas where sufficient space is a luxury, urban farming can be a boon. In fact, at Farmlyplace, the urban farms have high density plants which require very limited space.
Real World Examples
There are some incredible examples of urban farming in parts of Europe and Asia. At the Prinzessinnengarten in Kreuzberg, near the Berlin Wall, is an urban farm that grows a wide range of vegetables and fruits in rice sacks, recycled Tetra packs and plastic crates.
Another successful case is of Sky Greens in Singapore, which is like a plant skyscraper. As Singapore is one of the most densely populated country in the world, it has little room available for farming. Sky Greens tackled this problem by growing vegetables on a tall, narrow A frame structure. The plants rotate slowly, so that each crate gets sufficient exposure to sunlight.
Moreover, you can grow more than just fruits and vegetables in urban farms. For instance, Urban Organics specializes in growing three varieties of kale, two varieties of Swiss chard, Italian parsley, and cilantro. It also uses the same water to raise Atlantic salmon in a closed-loop system called aquaponics. Fish waste, in turn, is utilized for fertilizing the plants which filter the water before it goes into the planters.
Since its opening in 2014, Urban Organics has been serving food to people in the food deserts of the Twin Cities. In fact, The Guardian listed Urban Organics as one of the ten most innovative urban farming projects in the world.
Now that you know about urban farming, let’s take a look at the benefits of urban farming.
Benefits of Urban Farming
1. Enhanced Food Security
We all know the health benefits of organic products, but unfortunately, all families can’t afford organic food. Simply put, they lack food security.
Food security means having access to a sufficient amount of sustainable food for you and your family. This is a grave concern for a lot of families all across the globe. But urban farming is a feasible solution to this problem.
Producing your own food, growing your own crops and herbs on undeveloped land is one way that can help the urban poor in earning more money. In fact, urban farmers can trade their harvest and keep the rest for themselves.
2. Growing communities
According to a study by University of Pennsylvania, areas where urban gardens are established, not only result in aesthetic upgrade but also reduces crime.
In addition, as per Vox.com, communal urban gardens tend to increase social networks and bonds in the localities.
Urban Farming is an interesting way to bring people together, to establish a sense of community among isolated groups of the population. For example, when the people of the neighborhood, family, friends or sometimes even strangers when to work together to keep the plants alive in a community garden, it develops a sense of belongingness in the community.
3. Efficient use of land
With growing population and massive urbanization, fertile lands are diminishing every day. Urban farming is a probable solution for efficiently using the land available for feeding people. For instance, rooftop gardens not only take minimal space but also provide tones of fresh produce. Moreover, this is a kind of space that would otherwise go waste. In fact, vertical gardens can be set up anywhere you like, including indoors.
The future of agriculture: Urban Farming
At first, it may seem that urban farming initiatives in small communities would hardly have any major impact. On the contrary, according to a report by the Arizona State University, if an urban farming initiative was implemented in every global city, the urban agricultural industry could produce up to 180 million metric tons of food annually. This is a massive figure, as its approximately equal to the 10% of earth’s agriculture output.
In addition, urban farming also helps in financial savings from decreased stormwater runoff, urban heat-island effect, pest control, energy cost and could potentially amount to $ 160 billion every year.
With so many positive results, it makes sense why researchers and environmentalists are encouraging urban farming and making the people aware about the major global, economic, social and environmental issues.
To minimize the carbon footprint of mass production and distribution, urban farming is a sure shot solution. It also seeks to make nutritious food affordable and accessible to everyone around.
In recent years, not only consumers are more conscious about how their food is produced but also about its impact on the environment. At Farmlyplace, we produce fresh vegetables at unused open spaces such as the parking lot or the rooftop of a building. Since the lengthy processes of transportation, cooling and storage along with carbon footprint are completely eliminated, Farmlyplace is an example of sustainable food production in cities.
With friendly and competent service, we provide fresh kitchen herbs and high-quality, healthy products that are produced without genetic engineering. So enjoy a sustainable life with Farmlyplace(s). For more information on healthy living, you can visit us here.
Visit also our Food in the City series of events in Berlin:
Related information: Health & Nutrition
This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)