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: <https://www.schoener-wohnen.de/einrichten/33378-rtkl-urban-gardening-gemeinschaftsgaerten-der-stadt> [Accessed 20 April 2020].
Figure 2: Speigelman, A., 2017. Urban Jungle: April Philips Has A Concrete Plan For Tasty City Landscape. [online] Huffpost.com. Available at: <https://www.huffpost.com/entry/big-city-farming_b_3543351?guccounter=1> [Accessed 20 April 2020].
Figure 3: Westen, O., 2013. Tuin De Bajonet – Platform Binnentuinen. [online] Platform Binnentuinen. Available at: <http://www.platformbinnentuinen.nl/tuinen/tuin-de-bajonet/> [Accessed 20 April 2020].
Figure 4: Biere, C., 2018. Champ_De_Biere-By-V_OLZ-03 « Landscape Architecture Platform | Landezine. [online] Landezine.com. Available at: <http://landezine.com/index.php/2014/12/champ-de-biere-by-v-olz/champ_de_biere-by-v_olz-03/> [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: <https://www.un.org/development/desa/en/news/population/2018-revision-of-world-urbanization-prospects.html> [Accessed 15 April 2020].