The Future of Food – Is Urban Agriculture A Solution?
With bursting populations and high food prices, the food security of urban dwellers is approaching a crossroads
By Nisha Kumar Kulkarni
May 19, 2011
Sustainability, however, remains a challenge for urban agriculture, as does its scalability.
“People throw around the word ‘sustainable’ a lot in our field,” says Peters. “Urban agriculture is absolutely sustainable in the sense that it does not require the inputs of fossil fuels or chemical fertilizers.”
But Peters goes on to acknowledge the constraints of the model. “It is unlikely that urban agriculture can ‘sustain’ an entire city population like Mumbai’s. We do the majority of our urban gardening on rooftops and terraces. Other cities that have more land mass may be able to pull it off. Ninety percent of Havana’s fresh produce comes from local urban farms and gardens, for example.”
“People in Mumbai have been extremely receptive to the urban gardening movement,” says Peters. “We want to work with a cross-section of Mumbai residents. We want every window grate to be growing something edible. We want people to think of growing food before they think of growing ornamental plants. We want to look out and see green, edible landscapes.” To date, Fresh & Local is working towards that goal steadily: in less than a year, it has held numerous workshops at the Bombay Hub for more than 180 people interested in urban agriculture and gardening.