Urban Agriculture (UA) is a form of farming within and around cities. Due to urban characteristics (spatial constraints, land uses, quality of ecosystems), this type of agriculture is multifunctional and is consistent with sustainable development through its environmental, economic and social aspects. UA is also involved in urban food security, which societal/society’s expectations regarding food and environment protection and contributes to urban ecology.
UA has no predefined form, it adapts to the urban context and enhances spaces and social dynamics as UA stakeholders are multiple: citizens, farmers, local communities, associations and companies. UA revitalize market gardening/vegetable – growing areas while creating interaction between the rural and urban populations. Thus, UA can be developed in different spaces (soil, roof, wasteland, basements, parking, etc.) and have several types of farming: hydroponic, aquaponic, vertical farming, field crops, breeding, etc. The economic model of UA can be productive and lucrative or non-lucrative such as community gardens which however enhance important ecosystem services for citizens.
Actually, urban agriculture apart from its food production function (fruits, vegetables, honey, cereals, legumes pulses) restores biodiversity in town through the creation of ecological corridor. UA helps cities to reduce their ecological impact (composting, add value to sewage sludge, recycling) and increase their resilience. UA is therefore integrated in the ecological transition dynamics through sustainable nutrition, environmental health and environmental education. However, UA has its limits such as frequently observed pollutions and can participate to inequalities: land use conflicts, property costs, etc.
References to explore
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 2011. The place of urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) in national food security programmes. 60p. ISBN 978-92-5-106845-8
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 2007. Profitability and sustainability of urban and peri-urban agriculture. 108p. ISBN 978-92-5-105881-7
RUAF Foundation, 2019. Urban agriculture: what and why ?. Connection on 6 April 2019.