Urban Farming Benefits : Make Our World Green
Urban farming is a silent revolution that promises to tackle some severe problems. We might have to encounter in the near future for those.
Can you imagine the urban farming benefits on us? On Our world?
The global population continues to expand day by day accompanied by a simultaneous increase in food demand. But the land available for food production is finite, as Malthus pointed out centuries ago.
To meet our towering demand for food, we need to use the land available to us in the most efficient way possible. This involves promoting food cultivation in urban areas. To make people more conscious about the food they eat and encouraging them to assert some sense of control over their food security.
The perks of urban farming go far beyond boosting the overall food supply as it can have a handful of positive socio-economic effects.
Today, we will shed light on four urban farming benefits and discuss them in detail.
WHAT IS URBAN FARMING
The term “urban farming” is kind of self-explanatory, doesn’t it?
Simply put, it is a farm that can be found in an urban location rather than traditional farms set in rural settings. You don’t necessarily have to own acres of land in a city to launch an urban farming initiative.
People are growing foods on their rooftops, on their front yards, street medians and even on their balconies. These activities are not limited to crop growing only. Some are also raising farm animals in whatever limited space they have at their disposal.
More and more people continue to migrate to cities every day in search of better amenities. Almost three-fourths of the entire population in developing countries from Asia, Latin America, and Africa will be living in urban areas in 2020.
Most of these cities are incapable of providing befitting employment opportunities to their new inhabitants. This surge of inbound traffic also takes a toll on municipal waste management, power distribution and other basic facilities of a metropolitan region.
Urban farming can be a useful tool to cope with the burden of this surplus population by creating an alternate source of revenue and food production. It can complement the shortcomings of conventional, i.e. rural food sources.
BENEFITS OF URBAN FARMING
INCREASED FOOD SECURITY
The most important contribution urban farming makes to the society is ensuring easier access to healthy, nutritional food to city dwellers.
In most cases, prices of food supplies are driven up in urban areas owing to transportation and several other intermediary costs. Urban farming eliminates the middleman from the picture and brings food well within the financial reach of less fortunate families.
World Bank estimates suggest that half of the population living in a city is residing below the poverty line (2000 data). In rural areas, the scope for subsistence farming is more prevalent. So an income drop doesn’t necessarily translate into a food scarcity but in cities. It’s almost impossible to get food if you don’t have adequate money.
Urban agricultural practices could work wonders in solving this problem. We have empirical evidence to back up this claim. In Harare, lower class families grow 60% of their total food intake all by themselves, reveals the findings of Drakakis-Smith and Bowyer-Bower’s research. Large-scale urban farming alongside traditional rural agriculture can make the food system of a country more self-dependent and proficient. It ensures superior food security for all income groups.
A GREENER CITY
Urban farming creates patches of greenery throughout the city landscape and sustain-ably revitalizes the urban ecosystem. Waste disposal is getting more and more difficult for modern cities with the growth of urban population.
Urban farming can offer a practical solution to this problem by utilizing some of this organic waste for preparing fertilizers or cattle feed. The pollutants of municipal wastewater can be filtered out to make the water reusable for irrigation purposes.
More trees and plants in the city mean more oxygen generation, CO2 absorption and turning the neighboring temperature down in the process. Not to mention the aesthetic appeal of verdancy urban farming can bring upon a city.
IMPROVE IN PUBLIC HEALTH
Townsfolk are no strangers to malnutrition and other dietary health problems. Mostly because seasonal fruits and vegetables come in cities from distant sources and often, these are sprayed with artificial preservatives to retain their freshness. These cases are more severe in third world nations where food safety regulations are practically non-existent.
Growing food in urban areas will cut off the transportation time required to deliver the produce to shop shelves and reduce the need for using harmful preservatives. If you grow your own food, you will be much more assured of the quality of food.
Studies suggest a rise in urban agricultural practices could lead to a sizeable reduction in cardiac disease, diabetes and many other health complications in city areas.
Besides establishing a healthy, nutritious food supply, urban farming can also improve the air quality in your city by maintaining the optimal CO2 and O2 levels in the atmosphere through photosynthesis, thereby your chances of contracting respiratory diseases will also go down significantly.
Small or large scale, all types of urban farming can be financially rewarding. By harvesting your own food, you are saving a sizable chunk of your income that would have been spent on food expenditure. If you get to produce in surplus, you will be able to earn money selling them as well.
Broader farming initiatives in metropolitan areas can involve a lot of people in the community and create employment opportunities. Farming projects in the neighborhoods of Tanzanian city of Dar es Salaam brought in $7 million in revenue solely from milk sales in the year 1993.
One of the most urban farming benefits is it can also stir establishment of several related micro industries like packaging and inter-city delivery services, which would also account for some more job openings. Some of these enterprises solely exist to complement the expansion of urban farming. For example, there would be no point in offering food transformation services like making yogurt in the city if there are no dairy farms nearby.
The urban farming benefits are manifold. It could be a valuable tool to combat food scarcity, poverty and social segregation. There have been countless successful urban farming endeavors throughout the world that have helped socially disadvantageous groups like unemployed immigrants, orphans, deprived women and elderly people. These programs successfully managed to incorporate them into an urban network by providing them with a stable income source.
But it’s not only cities with persistent overcrowding and poverty issues who are adopting urban farming scheme; in fact, urban farming is growing much more progressively in the advanced cities of the world. Policymakers are trying to come up with their best ideas to integrate more and more greenery amidst the jungle of concrete and glasses. Urban farming has the potential to evolve as a powerful contributor to the overall economy which can cope with varying urban conditions and promote a stable system that promises an inclusive distribution of food items. In our article, we have highlighted four major benefits of urban farming but the total impact of urban farming to our modern lifestyle could be far more diversified.
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