Urban Agriculture and Food Security:
Across North America, town and city dwellers are gaining access to a
variety of foods raised in several types of urban sites. Urban agriculture
defined in simple terms is the growing, processing, and distribution
of food and other products through intensive plant cultivation and animal
husbandry in and around cities. It includes green belts around cities,
farming at the city’s edge, vegetable plots in community gardens,
and food production in thousands of vacant inner-city lots. Urban agriculture
comprises fish farms, farm animals at public housing sites, municipal
compost facilities, schoolyard greenhouses, restaurant-supported salad
gardens, backyard orchards, rooftop gardens and beehives, window box
gardens, and much more. The potential for food production in cities
is great, and dozens of model projects are demonstrating successfully
that urban agriculture is both necessary and viable. Health and nutrition
advocates are joining with community gardeners, university professionals,
Cooperative Extension, emergency food providers, and faith communities
in city-wide coalitions and food policy councils to maintain and expand
urban food security. Community economic development organizers, city
planners, and environmentalists concerned with urban waste reduction
and recycling, see the potential of urban farming. A growing consumer
demand for fresh, local, and often organic food in its turn creates
new markets for urban food production. Many of these efforts specifically
address the needs of urban residents who are living in poverty, and
consequently experience poor nutrition, hunger, and anxiety about not
having enough to eat. This primer provides an introduction to urban
agriculture with a special emphasis on its ability to combat food insecurity
in United States cities. Through profiles and information, the reader
will be able to gain access to the many resources available to expand
urban agriculture in their area.
Brown, Katherine and Anne Carter. 2003. "Urban
Agriculture and Community Food Security in the United States: Farming
From the City Center to the Urban Fringe." A Primer Prepared
by the Community Food Security Coalition - North American Urban Agriculture
Urban Agriculture and Sustainable
Cities: Urban agglomerations and their resource
uses are becoming the dominant feature of the human presence on earth,
profoundly changing humanity’s relationship to its host planet
and its ecosystems. The cities of the 21st century are where human destiny
will be played out, and where the future of the biosphere will be determined.
It is unlikely that the planet will be able to accommodate an urbanised
humanity that continues to draw upon resources from ever more distant
hinterlands, or which uses the biosphere, the oceans, and the atmosphere
as a sink for its wastes at the current accelerating rates. The challenge
faced is whether cities can transform themselves into self-regulating,
sustainable systems - not only in their internal functioning, but also
in their relationships to the outside world. Is it possible to make
a world of cities viable in the long term – socially, economically,
as well as environmentally? The answer to this question is critical
to the future well-being of the planet, as well as of humanity. There
can be no sustainable world without sustainable cities.
Boggs, Grace Lee. 2003. "Living
for Change: Urban AgriCulture in Detroit." Michigan Citizen.
Deelstra, Tjeerd and Herbert Girardet. "Urban
Agriculture and Sustainable Cities." Thematic Paper, Leusden:
Resource Center on Urban
Agriculture and Forestry.
Hair, Marty. 2002. "Harvest
of Hopes: Capuchin Friar Rick Samyn Grows Ideals as Well as Produce
in His Garden." Detroit Free Press.
Hynes, Patricia. 1996. A Patch of Eden. White River Junction:
Chelsea Green Publishing.
Merritt, Layla J.2004. "Urban Gardens Revitalize Detroit Communities."
Michigan Citizen. XXVI(38): B1.
Rhea, Shawn. 2003. "Detroit
Renaissance." Yes! Magazine.
Shurmann, Franz. June 1996. "Can
Cities Feed Themselves?: Worldwide Turn to Urban Gardening Signals Hope."
Pacific News Service. This article features commentary highlighting
the proceedings of the Second UN Conference on Human Settlement (Habitat
II). The main focus of the article is future population growth in cities,
food production concerns, and the role of urban agriculture in the developed
and developing world.
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