Urban agriculture can reflect varying levels of economic and social development. It is a global movement; In some places, it often takes the form of a social movement for sustainable communities, where organic growers, ‘foodies,’ and ‘locavores’ form social networks founded on a shared ethos of nature and community holism. These networks can evolve when receiving formal institutional support, becoming integrated into local town planning as a ‘transition town’ movement for sustainable urban development. In the developing south, food security, nutrition, and income generation are key motivations for the practice. In either case, more direct access to fresh vegetables, fruits, and meat products through urban agriculture can improve food security and food safety.
Why Urban Farming:
The Locavore Movement and Local Food:
“locavores” are a movement of people who prefer to eat foods which are grown or farmed relatively close to the places of sale and preparation. There are a number of reasons why people choose to participate in the locavore lifestyle. Motivations include healthier food, environmental benefits, and economic or community benefits. Many local farmers whom locavores turn to for their source of food use the crop rotation method when producing their organic crops. This method not only aids in reducing the use of pesticides and pollutants, but also keeps the soil in good condition rather than depleting it. Locavores seek out farmers close to where they live, and this significantly reduces the amount of travel time taken for the food to get from the farm to the table. Reducing the travel time makes it possible to transport the crops while they are still fresh, without using chemical preservatives. The combination of local farming techniques and short travel distances makes the food consumed more likely to be organic and fresh, an added benefit.
A community supported agriculture system is extremely beneficial to a community because it “enables consumers to support local farmers, obtain food that might be fresher than store-bought food, and learn more information from farmers about how the food is grown.” Furthermore, local eating can support public objectives. It can promote community interaction by fostering relationships between farmers and consumers.
Local food builds community vibrancy and retains local traditions while establishing a local identity through a unique sense of community. Urban gardens as shown in the documentary, “Urban Roots” are another solution to creating local food that greatly benefits the community as a whole. These urban gardens create local produce as well as educational and social opportunities.
Local foods are sometimes considered the most climate friendly because the energy needed to store and transport the food is removed from the equation. There is a decrease in greenhouse gases emitted because locally grown goods do not need to be transported across the country, or constantly cooled in large refrigerators. Another benefit of locally grown food is its lower concentration of pollution sources. According to the USDA, more than 335 million tons of manure are produced annually in American farms. In factory farms, this waste is extremely concentrated, and without proper regulation and disposal, the waste pollutes the surrounding areas.
Growing and selling foods locally saves the environment from serious detriments. With local farms, “food miles” can essentially be eliminated, which includes the accompanying pollution. There would be no need to establish more expansive industrial farms that contaminate the soil, whereas local farmers are able to preserve soil for sustainability.
Growing local food and urban farming builds awareness amongst the community of the significance and quality of the food we are consuming, as a whole. It connects the community with its local farmers, and with each other. Urban farming will also make the community more ecologically aware and sensitive not only in terms of food, but other aspects of their life such as waste management, use of plastic, energy consumption, synthetic clothes, chemical cosmetics and other issues of modern life.
Communities that participate in urban farming and local food are likely to slow down in their life, and see the relation of our fast lives, with stress, disease and other life style related psycho somatic manifestations.
Mindfulness and Meditation:
Farming is considered a meditative activity and Is known to bring about mindfulness and stress reduction among its practitioners. It keeps the body physically active and fit, and provides much required sun light and fresh air in our daily modern lives.
Compassion and Community:
Urban farming organized and conducted as a community builds a sense of bond, empathy and compassion amongst its community, and leads to better inter personal relations, co operation and a sense of belonging and identity to its practitioners.
The food, ecological and climate crisis are intrinsically related. As urban and industrial initiatives take up agriculture land across the globe, there is more imagination to integrating farming with urban and industrial environment.
Many ideas such as aero farming, hydroponics, vertical farming and others are being experimented and new models are being tested to make urban sustainable communities and cities. An idea of a smart city invariably includes food sustainability.
Urban Farming Videos for Organic Farming for Experience Zone:
Plantagon Green Building: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=70&v=xnqssemOvGE
How to do Organic Farming, Ahmedabad Documentary:
Quotes on Organic Farming:
Farming is a way of life in which one constantly reaffirms the source of life. – Fukuoka Masanobu
Work is energy. Two crises of our times are intimately connected — the climate crisis and the unemployment crisis…..To make the energy transition beyond oil, we need to bring people back into the economy, bring human energy back into production, respect physical work, and give it dignity. – Vandana Shiva
“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed”
– Maya angelou
Resources on Urban Permaculture: