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Growing Urban Agriculture

Onions and greens on the Siyakhana Urban Farm in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Esther Ngumbi)

To feed the world’s growing population, we must do more to promote the success of urban farms through better tracking, financial incentives, land use, and support systems.

By Esther Ngumbi
Stanford Social Innovation Review
Oct. 23, 2017


Increasing financial incentives could encourage urban farming to grow. Some public schools, hospitals, and other public institutions like universities receive tax breaks for obtaining a certain percentage of their food from urban farms. Such arrangements can create guaranteed markets for produce from urban farms. Some states and municipalities have programs to help such institutions redesign their procurement policies to increase the percentage of locally grown produce. Food retailers could also get tax incentives from the government for carrying products from urban farms. In addition, urban farms could receive tax breaks for donating excess produce to food banks and pantries. Most importantly, government could provide tax incentives to urban farms that work with food pantries and food banks in an effort to ensure that people receiving public assistance can buy fresh food from urban farms using food stamps.

Efforts to promote urban farming around our world must be intensified. African Development Bank President and 2017 World Food Prize laureate Akinwumi Adesina has for years emphasized that making agriculture modern, profitable, and appealing to young Africans could be the key to lifting millions out of poverty. Other countries, including those in Africa, can learn from some of the incentives and advocacy efforts happening in the United States. With the right supports, urban farming offers a promising approach to help feed the world’s growing population.

Read the complete article here.