Time to Consider an International Year of Urban Farming?
Each year the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) picks a theme that deserves more attention and devotes a year to knowledge sharing and advocacy about this theme
By Marisol Pierce-Quinonez
Jan 15, 2014
While family farms have persisted through the ages, urban farms often pop up in under-utilized spaces within the city, only to vanish when a more profitable use is found. Despite the dissimilar time frame, there are many similarities between the value of family farmers and urban farmers. Urban farmers in the developing world cultivate land to improve household food security, to earn extra income, to provide ecosystem services, and are a source of resilience in the face of economic and environmental uncertainty.
And although their contribution to global food security may be smaller, just like family farms, urban farms incorporate economic, environmental, social and cultural functions into their landscapes. Whatsmore, an International Year of Urban Farming could use these bucolic intrusions into urban spaces to call attention to the problems of urban poverty and food insecurity. Perhaps its time to launch a campaign for an IUFF!
What would an International Year of Urban Farming look like?
The IYFF is focused around four specific objectives. Here, they are reimagined to promote urban farming:
1. Support the development of policies conducive to sustainable urban farming
Encourage prospective farmers to cultivate under-utilized municipal land
Adopt land use regulations and “right to farm” laws that protect farming in urban spaces
2. Increase knowledge, communication, and public awareness of urban farming
Increase public awareness of urban farming and its contributions to urban food security, improved nutrition, employment and livelihood improvement, and the sustainable use of natural resources, particularly of marginal urban lands
Create a network of urban extension agents to highlight best practices in urban farming and make information available to potential urban farmers the world over