Interest in urban farming has steadily grown over the years, with many groups and entities launching their own ventures in the agricultural field. From businesses to non-profits and municipalities to individuals, these groups are all united by the same goal: to improve the quality of their community’s health, food access and economic opportunities.
But putting this general knowledge aside, what exactly is urban agriculture?
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at its definition, examples and many benefits.
To define urban agriculture, it’s first important to understand where it differs. Most people commonly confuse or lump the term together with other agricultural sub-disciplines like community gardening, homesteading, or subsistence farming.
Most of these other agricultural disciplines take place in homes, communities and other areas of land. For urban agriculture, the setting is defined as mainly occurring in a community located in a city or other types of highly populated urban areas.
But what essentially sets it apart is, for the most part, it assumes a level of commerce. This means that the ultimate goal is to grow produce for food trade and selling as opposed to personal consumption or sharing. Simply put, it’s purely made for commercial purposes and not recreational or leisure.
Apart from commercial interest, some urban farm centers are built exclusively for the purpose of educating or training a community of urban farmers or people. These urban farm centers normally focus on improving food access, food transportation and food quality. In the end, these efforts are all made with the common goal of improving farm efficiency and knowledge to promote better economic opportunities within the area.
The importance of the practice starts in educating groups and individuals of understanding how the food system works. By having a good grasp of the process, one can have more input into how food is grown, harvested and transported from one place to another.
Apart from education, the discipline matters in its approach to utilize spaces in highly populated urban areas as alternatives to improve how the local food system and its products are grown and produced.
When an urban community is informed and educated, people turn out to be better informed urban consumers. This in turn supports the essential idea of the practice as an effort to improve the local food system’s quality and the lives of its people.
Experts believe that investing in urban agriculture can greatly enhance a community’s knowledge on agriculture. Through urban farm programs that educate and inform, many people will get involved and be more aware of how local food systems and processes are made and distributed. As a result, alternatives to food sources are created and access to fresh food is made easier.