New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Major news! “Urban Agriculture: Food, Jobs, and Sustainable Cities” – now online


Classic 1996 United Nations publication now available online in new 2001 edition for all to read.

Book by: Jac Smit Joe Nasr Annu Ratta, 2001

Foreword By Joe Nasr
Washington, D.C.
February 1, 2011
(A used copy of this book was selling for over $100 on Amazon Books. Mike)


This book, Urban Agriculture: Food Jobs and Sustainable Cities, is based on research undertaken by the authors, in particular a series of study trips in 1991-1992 by Jac Smit, funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The report on these studies was expanded into a book, published in 1996 by the UNDP, as a contribution to the UN Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II). The book was an immediate success, quickly becoming the second-most popular publication by UNDP. It has come to be seen as the standard text on the subject.

Unfortunately, as a result of this success, the book quickly went out of print. Therefore, UNDP commissioned the original authors to undertake a new edition. In addition to updating it, the authors sought to fill in some of the gaps in the first edition and to reinforce the presence of some of the emerging topics in this field. The work on the new edition was completed by 2001, producing a manuscript that was nearly fifty percent longer than the original edition.

Although the UNDP Publications Board approved that document, it was never published. Jac’s last professional wish before he died in November 2009 was to make the book available on the Internet. The UNDP has now granted to the authors permission to release the second edition to the general public. In its approval message, the UNDP stated: “having undertaken the appropriate quality assurance procedures and by signing the original approval document, we have cleared the revised publication for posting.”

We are pleased to help fulfill Jac’s wish by placing the 2001 edition on this website, and soon, on the new website of MetroAg – Alliance for Urban Agriculture, the organization that I co-founded recently and that Jac nurtured in its inception. This edition is provided here in the form in which we delivered it to the UNDP in 2001. All the chapters and most of the appendices are included separately, so they can be downloaded individually. Photos and figures have been left out at this time, but they may be added in the future.

The first edition of the book has already achieved a special status in the history of the emergence of urban agriculture as a global movement. A number of those involved in this movement have proudly shown me their tattered copies of this book, which has been a source of information and inspiration for them over the years. The second edition itself is now almost a decade old, so some of its contents have necessarily become dated given the fast-evolving nature of this field – but I believe that it can still provide reflection, analysis and comparison for newer generations of urban agriculture advocates.

Annu Ratta was our coauthor on both editions, and Seth Beckerman edited the manuscript for the 2nd edition to get it into publishable shape. At the UNDP, we wish to thank in particular Frank Hartvelt for enabling the first edition to be published, Peter Matlon for supporting the preparation of the second edition, and Charles McNeill, Judith Puyat-Magnaye, Franz Jaggar and Arnold Buursink for helping us fulfill Jac’s wish to make the manuscript available to the public. I hope that this book will continue to inspire those who are new and seasoned in urban agriculture, just as it did when it was first published in the mid-1990s.

Book Contents


1- Cities That Feed Themselves

2 – Urban Agriculture Yesterday and Today

3 – Who Are the Urban Farmers?

4 – Where is Farming Found in the City?

5 – Producing Food and Fuel in Urban Areas

6 – Which Organizations Influence Urban Agriculture?

7 – Benefits of Urban Agriculture

8 – Problems Related to Urban Agriculture

9 – Constraints to Urban Agriculture

10 – Trends in Urban Agriculture

11 – Promoting Urban Agriculture


A – Acknowledgements

B – Glossary

C – Sources for Cases

E – Locations Visited by the Urban Agriculture Network, 1991 – 2000

G – Selected Readings

Read the whole book here.

1 comment

1 susil Liyanarachchi { 08.13.12 at 8:01 pm }

Please send me an electronic version of the book.

Thank you,