Urban Farming is the practice of cultivating, processing and distributing food in or around local villages, towns or cities. While environmental conditions remain inconsistent, population is drastically rising. In turn this is making land more valuable and significantly more expensive to buy and rent. Collectively, these factors are encouraging new directions of agriculture which effectively uses urban land to grow, harvest and distribute food.
The movement is encouraging people to explore how we can make our food as local as possible. By growing what we need near where we live and eating foods in season, we decrease the food miles associated with long distance transportation. While this is a sustainable alternative to food distribution, it also offers us fresher produce for our money.
Growing food locally also helps to add greenery to cities, connecting urban areas with nature again. Recently, cities have invested in community gardens to encourage local participation in growing, attracting tourists along the way. This has helped to generate jobs in deperessed, over populated areas. Successful examples include New York City's High Line Park. Built on a disused railway, the park provides city dwellers with a place that is an opposite representation of city life.
Not only is the park a place for recreation and rest for city residents. But as a tourist attraction welcoming over 25 million visitors per year, the park has encouraged economic gain for the area where the value of nearby property and land has increased significantly.
Although, Urban Farming has clear social, economic and ecological benefits, further development is needed to enable us to produce what we need within a short distance from home. Such development would address the challenges associated with city growing.
These challenges are mainly associated with two key points:
- Cost of land
- Quality of urban soils
In the following week, I will continue to explore how nature, technology and design could be used to overcome these challenges.