New book – Healthy City Harvests: Generating evidence to guide policy on urban agriculture
from Makerere University Press, 250 pages
Editors: Donald Cole, Diana Lee-Smith and George Nasinyama (Will be going to press in the next few weeks.)
“In an era of global urban food crises and rapid, unplanned
city growth, how can urban agriculture be transformed from a
potential source of health risks into a vehicle for healthier
urban households and local environments?”
• A novel guide to integrating agriculture and public health into urban policy
• “Policy dialogue” to engage researchers and policy makers in support of agriculture-based livelihoods of low income urban families
• A science-based approach to dealing with public health and food safety concerns
• Essential reading for professionals and academics involved in agriculture and the environment, public health, and urban planning and management
Increasing concentrations of low-income families in urban settlements with limited employment opportunities have placed greater emphasis on securing household food security and income supplements through local agricultural production. Fears that urban food production can provide multiple pathways for introducing urban contaminants into the food chain have often resulted in a negative policy environment for urban agriculture. Yet policy makers have had little or no hard evidence either about the risks, or about the potential nutritional and other health benefits of local food production.
This publication presents research results on potential health risks from exposure of crops to urban contaminants and from livestock production as well as the nutritional and food security benefits of urban farming. These results are embedded in the specific policy context of the city of Kampala, Uganda, but the lessons about the links between research results and policy have relevance for cities in other parts of Africa and beyond. The book contains contributions by leading research specialists in the fields of urban agriculture and public health from Uganda and the broader science community.
After deconstructing the multiple perspectives on health risks from food production, the book presents the Kampala research in sections that focus on the analysis of food and nutrition security benefits, risk exposure through horticulture and the risks and benefits from livestock. Finally, the publication demonstrates how these aspects were re-integrated in a public policy debate in Kampala, and develops an urban governance approach to managing agriculture and health. By placing food, public health and urban policy in Kampala in a broader historical context, this book suggests how research may help achieve agreements among scientists and policy-makers on supporting low income
urban populations through safe and sustainable agriculture.