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Figure 2 (Speigelman, 2017)

Definition of urban agriculture

In the academic literatures that I have read, there are great many definitions of what urban agriculture is. However, for me as a researcher, I believe this is the best fit. According to Mougeot (2006), it is defined as an act of “growing, processing and distribution of food and nonfood plant and tree crops and the raising of livestock, directly for the urban market …”. (Mougeot, 2006) It is a way of physical activity that works with the materials found in nature through growing or nurturing and use them through personal consumption or selling the produce as a commodity.

Figure 3: (Westen, 2013)

Benefits of urban agriculture

As urban agriculture has physical aspect to its definition, it offers wide ranging benefits from health, social, environmental or even in terms of offering economic values (McClintock, 2010). However, in this post, I will delve into health and social aspects of what UA offers. 

Studies have shown that urban agriculture has a huge impact for personal health and social both directly and indirectly. According to Patel (1996), people who partake agricultural activities regardless of scale are more likely and positively correlated to consume fresh fruits and vegetables (Patel, 1996). In addition, from McGuinn and Relf (2001) perspectives, it contributes largely through providing “safe, healthy, and green environments in neighborhoods, schools, and abandoned areas” (McGuinn and Relf, 2001). These health benefits through consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables will provide the dietary needs which aid individuals to deter from being ill. It also provides and access to green spaces which according to United Nations, it can reduce health inequalities, improvement of well being and a passive form of treating mental illness. (UN DESA, 2020).

Figure 4: (Biere, 2018)

Introducing urban agriculture into our cities create a safe space that consider as ‘productive’ and ‘inclusive’ environment (Koopmans et al. 2017). It provides urban food initiatives that encourages the provision of green vegetables and fruits to public thus, it has a recreational consideration with growing and production of food. In addition, it cultivates community involvements and enhancing social, local, cultural identity of the place (Freeman et al., 2012; Ackerman et al., 2014)

All in all, the benefits of introducing urban agriculture into our cities is well documented by academic literatures regarding what it offers into ourselves and to the public. It is a coveted strategy to be aware to improve our well being and community. 


Figure 1: (Cover photo)  Schöner Wohnen. 2020. Urban Gardening – Gemeinschaftsgärten In Der Stadt. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 20 April 2020].

Figure 2: Speigelman, A., 2017. Urban Jungle: April Philips Has A Concrete Plan For Tasty City Landscape. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 20 April 2020].

Figure 3: Westen, O., 2013. Tuin De Bajonet – Platform Binnentuinen. [online] Platform Binnentuinen. Available at: <> [Accessed 20 April 2020].

Figure 4: Biere, C., 2018. Champ_De_Biere-By-V_OLZ-03 « Landscape Architecture Platform | Landezine. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 20 April 2020].



Ackerman, K., M. Conard, P. Culligan, R. Plunz, M.P. Sutto, and L. Whit- tinghill. 2014. Sustainable food systems for future cities: The potential of urban agriculture. Econ. Soc. Rev. (Irel) 45(2):189–206.

Koopmans, M., Mettepenningen, E., Kunda, I., Keech, D. and Tisenkopfs, T., 2017. Creating Spatial Synergies around Food in Cities. Urban Agriculture & Regional Food Systems, 2(1): 1-9.

Freeman, C., K.J.M. Dickinson, S. Porter, and Y. van Heezik. 2012. “My garden is an expression of me”: Exploring householders’ relationships with their gardens. J. Environ. Psychol. 32:135–143. doi:10.1016/j.jenvp.2012.01.005

Mougeot, L.J.A. Growing Better Cities: Urban Agriculture for Sustainable Development; International Development Research Centre: Ottawa, ON, Canada, 2006; 

McGuinn C, Relf PD. 2001. A profile of juvenile offenders in a vocational horticulture curriculum. HortTechnology 11: 427–433. 

McClintock, N., 2010. Why farm the city? Theorizing urban agriculture through a lens of metabolic rift. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 3(2): 191-207.

Patel IC. 1996. Rutgers urban gardening: A case study in urban agriculture. Journal of Agricultural and Food Information 3: 35–46.

UN DESA | United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. 2020. 68% Of The World Population Projected To Live In Urban Areas By 2050, Says UN | UN DESA | United Nations Department Of Economic And Social Affairs. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 15 April 2020].

2 responses to “Urban agriculture and what does it offer to the public.”

  1. Thank Van for sharing this!
    Since you already explain it in social aspects, I will discuss more about other aspects.

    Food security is important because the city had to rely on external production which created fragility during the crisis (FAO, 2006). Urban agriculture can create food security, reduce expenses, reduce transportation and create social participation. The challenge of urban agriculture is resource management – from growing crops, maintaining, harvesting, maintaining product quality for sales, and transportation. Changing the cultivated area from natural areas to urban areas is also another factor, importantly, the agricultural area should be able to adapt to various elements within the city such as buildings, roads, and street furniture, etc.

    Urban agriculture with building or open space is very common and we often see it in many cities now. There are some project that integrate urban agriculture with transportation route or connection route such as Mini Farm project from SOA that offers agriculture in public areas along walkways, Growing Underground project in London that uses World War II shelter for urban agriculture by using LED lighting systems, water-based cropping systems, it could be food security for up to 8,000 people.

    In fact, there are many unused public and private areas in the city, on the ground, under the highways, roofs, etc. If the government can stimulate the use of these areas to develop into an urban farm by creating an incentive policy to connect agricultural networks with knowledge, communities, and local agencies in management, we would be able to encourage cities to produce sustainable food in the future.


    FAO. 2006. Urban Food Agenda | Food And Agriculture Organization Of The United Nations. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 24 May 2020].

    Breewood, H., 2019. Spotlight On Urban, Vertical And Indoor Agriculture – Resilience. [online] Resilience. Available at: <> [Accessed 24 May 2020].

    SOA Architectes. n.d. Mini Farm. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 24 May 2020].

    Hoole, G., 2019. The World’s First Underground Farm Is Open For Tours. [online] Secret London. Available at: <> [Accessed 24 May 2020].

    Kante, P., Mali, K. and Bogovič, V., 2016. Productive Dynamic Landscape. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 24 May 2020].

  2. Dear Van Consul,
    Finally, I found the topic that I also concern about urban farming. Regarding this fascinating theme, I would put a bit wider perspective on how crucial urban agriculture for urban sustainability.

    As we knew in the future food resilience will become a severe issue, facing the population booming in the next few decades. The significant population will reach 9.7 billion people with food demand will increase anywhere between 59% to 98% in 2050 (Elferink and Schierhorn, 2016). Furthermore, almost 68% population will be taking place in the city (UN, 2018) and obviously, the city density will be rocketing. I think it is the right moment to improve urban agriculture strategy by involving vertical farming become the future option.

    Vertical farming may be an option that can be side by side with urban high density next. The vertical farming is giving flexibility of plant production. By providing small space for a vertical stack of soil, hydroponics or aeroponics, it also simple works to distribute nutrients water to the plants (Toledano, 2019). There is one main advantage of vertical farming about the crops that are possible to grow year-round (Le Blanc, 2019). However, this simple method still has disadvantages such as high cost of labour, expensive invest in assets, and it is too dependent on technology (Le Blanc, 2019).

    In conclusion, my opinion the campaign of urban farming and vertical farming has to be more massively than before. Moreover, in this unprecedented COVID-19 circumstance, we are in situation nearly lack of daily supplies. It is time to start using our spare space in our home, to planting some plants and takes benefit from our produce.


    Elferink, M & Schierhorn, F (2016). Harvard Business Review: Global Demand for Food Is Rising. Can We Meet It? [web] available at (accessed on 20 April 2020)

    Le Blanc, R (2019). What You Should Know About Vertical Farming
    Is It the Future of Agriculture? [web] available at (accessed on 20 April 2020)

    United Nation DESA (2018). News: 68% of the world population projected to live in urban areas by 2050, says UN. [web] available at (accessed on 20 April 2020)

    Toledano, B (2019). The second generation of vertical farming is approaching. Here’s why it’s important.[web] available at (accessed on 20 April 2020)

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