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Urban Agriculture: Organic and Sustainable Vegetable Production

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Words: 1057 |

Pages: 2|

6 min read

Published: Apr 2, 2020

Words: 1057|Pages: 2|6 min read

Published: Apr 2, 2020

Urban agriculture includes production, distribution, and marketing of food and other products within the cores of metropolitan areas. Examples include community, school, backyard, and rooftop gardens with a purpose extending beyond home consumption and education, urban market gardens, innovative food-production methods that maximize production in a small area, community supported agriculture based in urban areas, and family farms located in metropolitan greenbelts. According to Dickinson Despommier, an emeritus professor from Columbia University, states that half of the world's population reside in cities. He estimates that the land required to feed those people would be half the size of South America. The amount of land accumulated together to feed the entire world would be the size of South America (10%), and that’s only cropland. About 17-23% of land used is for livestock, which equates to the size of Africa. The global population is expected to hit 9 billion in the next 40 years which means we’ll need to use more land. Unfortunately, over 50% of earth’s land is uninhabitable and about 3% has been developed into urban areas. We are going to eventually run into food and land problems that will need multiple streams of solutions of support. Urban agriculture would be an exceptional partner in the increase in population and a decrease in land.

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Urban agriculture, also known as urban gardening or urban farming, is often confused with community gardening, homesteading or subsistence farming. (Greensgrow, 1) Urban agriculture is typically chosen to produce products to be sold as opposed to being grown for personal consumption or sharing. An integral part of urban farming is the ability to start and run a farm on a tract of land and produce sustainable amounts of food. Food can be sold at farmers markets or restaurants or could be donated to local soup kitchens or churches.

There is a farm organization in Chicago, City Farm ran by Ken Dunn, implementing urban farming into vacant lots. With Ken’s system, they seal the lots first in attempts to avoid all of the contaminated soils previously polluted by the industrial city. City Farm collects food waste from local restaruants and stores for compost in their soil to produce richer crops. Re-using food waste could offer many benefits such as reducing gas emissions into the atmosphere, not contributing to packed landfills, and protect your wallet by saving money on trash pickup costs.

City Farm is the perfect example of an organization attempting to bring back the local food system that the U. S has forgotten about. Nowadays, food production is a big business that could have big impacts if localized. By using urban agriculture, people are able to get jobs with the local farms and produce fresh food for the community, whereas larger food companies will take days delivering food that won’t be as fresh. 90% of commercial farms in the U. S produce ‘commodity’ crops that are converted into processed foods. First, these processed foods do not have proper nutrition needed to keep away from obesity, where ⅓ of adults and 17% of children in the U. S suffer from obesity. Secondly, the increase in urban agriculture means the decrease in the nations carbon footprint, or the ‘food-miles’ wasted to deliver food across the country. Urban agriculture may improve both food intake by exposing people to a cheap source of proteins and the quality of the food may improve due to the farming practices used.

Urban agriculture, in some ways, could complement the rural agriculture system and increase the efficiency of the national food system. It provides products that rural agriculture cannot supply on time (fresh fruit & vegetables) that can substitute for food imports. Urban agriculture has become a means of reestablishing the many facets of food that we have lost as a culture. How food grows, what grows regionally and seasonally are all important lessons and make an enlightened urban consumer. Urban farming is mainly performed outside in a vacant lot or rooftop. Living in a place filled with industry and towering high-rises for years could be intimidating. Allowing people to work out in nature in rich soil with other people promotes overall good health to all of the citizens. It could give certain people a sense of worth exposing them to an environment that promotes team effort and positive attitude.

Highly urbanised areas have high amounts of vacant land that can be used for agriculture on a temporary or permanent basis. For example, the city of Chicago has over 70, 000 vacant lots. The vacant land has potential to be revived and enriched with composted soil made out of old food waste or wood products. Implementing agriculture in cities provides more green space and adds a natural element to the boring concrete structures. This contributes to the health of city ecosystems in a variety of ways. Adding farms adds aesthetic appeal, reduces runoff from precipitation, and counters the ‘heat island’ effect by fixing carbon through photosynthesis. Urban farming also has the ability to produce more product with a smaller space when using ‘vertical’ farming.

Vertical farming is the practice of producing food and medicine in vertically stacked layers, vertically inclined surfaces in other structures (such as in a skyscraper or used warehouse. Vertical farming has advantages such as temperature control, artificial lighting, monitoring of nutrients/fertilizer, and humidity control.

Another new technique that has been put to use in recent years is hydroponics. Hydropnics is similar to vertical gardens, where hydroponics uses a method of growing plants without soil by using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent. The nutrients used in hydroponic systems can come from an array of different sources like fish waste, duck manure, or chemical fertilisers. The grower would not have to worry about the seasons when farming inside. These new techniques can be used in any city with an open warehouse and room for creativity.

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Urban agriculture offers many benefits to the world. It has the abilities to contribute to the world’s potential food-shortage in the future. It gives people a sense of belonging in a community, it increases food security among the urban poor, provides proper vitamins from foods grown from compost. Urban farming can reintroduce the roots of agriculture to the modern culture by teaching valuable learning opportunities. Most importantly, it makes efficient use of land that may have never gotten a second chance.

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Urban Agriculture: Organic And Sustainable Vegetable Production. (2020, April 02). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 21, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/urban-agriculture-organic-and-sustainable-vegetable-production/
“Urban Agriculture: Organic And Sustainable Vegetable Production.” GradesFixer, 02 Apr. 2020, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/urban-agriculture-organic-and-sustainable-vegetable-production/
Urban Agriculture: Organic And Sustainable Vegetable Production. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/urban-agriculture-organic-and-sustainable-vegetable-production/> [Accessed 21 May 2024].
Urban Agriculture: Organic And Sustainable Vegetable Production [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2020 Apr 02 [cited 2024 May 21]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/urban-agriculture-organic-and-sustainable-vegetable-production/
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