Food Security and Nutrition
The main reason why urban agriculture is very important in today’s society is because of its contribution to food security and push towards healthy nutrition. Lots of people in urban areas can’t access healthy food at all times, especially when it comes to overcrowded cities. And just to give you an idea about why this is happening, consider the fact that around 50% of the poor in developing countries live in urban areas. Very often, there are not enough opportunities for everybody in a single city to have a regular income, therefore, access to food is irregular and sometimes almost nonexistent.
This is how food security issues have appeared in cities, which is not the case in rural areas where agriculture is omnipresent and offers people easy access to food. This is where urban agriculture becomes a solution to a real-world problem. First of all, if more and more people start growing food in urban areas, more people have access to it, as you don’t actually need to pay to ship it from rural areas. Second of all, the quality of that food will be considerably better, given the fact that people who eat imported food from rural areas don’t benefit from the same quality of food as the providers do, even if they’re both part of the same social class.
In most developing cities, there are more and more companies and industries who produce tons and tons of wastewater and organic waste. So, obviously, the disposal of waste is a huge problem in cities all over the world. Due to the fact that most of the time people can’t find a better solution, they dispose of their waste wherever they please, all around the city; something that can cause huge environmental and health problems for the inhabitants.
A great way to start approaching this issue, and maybe even work towards its eradication, is to involve urban agriculture. The way it could work is by using all the waste in order to produce compost, which can be very helpful for urban agriculture. Using compost makes it possible to reduce the use of chemical fertilizers, which are very bad for the environment. Just think about the contamination of groundwater!
Also, if we think about all the wastewater in a city and what to do with it, we figure out that it can be of great use for the farmers who need to constantly irrigate their farms. Even though it might not seem like a brilliant idea, it actually is, because wastewater contains lots of beneficial nutrients for the soil. More so, an initiative such as compost-making is a great opportunity to provide income for the less fortunate people who live in urban areas.
In order to further prove that urban agriculture is the key to a sustainable future, we can discuss the benefits that it could have when it comes to going green and cleaning the city. One of the major contributing factors that negatively impact the quality of air in urban areas is undoubtedly the lack of green spaces and foliage. Urban agriculture takes this into account by improving the air quality around the city, offering more and more green zones and positively impacting the micro-climate.
In lots of cities around the world, even in overcrowded ones, you can always find vacant land or very affected open spaces where there used to be a building or something similar. Those places are usually turned into huge city dumpsters and are highly associated with crime and classified as danger zones. It’s sad to think about the negative impact that those places have on the environment and how their potential is being wasted. If we take initiative, not only we can turn these zones into productive green areas, but we can also help people around them enjoy a cleaner environment and a healthier lifestyle.
For the longest time, agriculture has been associated with rural areas. But due to the continuous evolution of the human race and the technological revolution, our societies and communities have changed; and in order for them to keep thriving, we need to integrate urban agriculture in the equation. Not only can we hope to eradicate the food security issue, which currently is a real-world problem, but we can offer people who live in urban areas the chance to buy and consume much healthier products. At the same time, if we think about the environmental impact and the idea of having a sustainable future, urban agriculture is a key factor, as it benefits the climate, the quality of air, the number of green zones and the people in urban areas.