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Urban Food Systems and Global Sustainable Land Use

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Examples for Urban Agriculture-related Activities of Cities. Click on image for larger file.

Urban Agriculture ranges from subsistence production and processing at household level to fully commercialized agriculture, and typically complements rural agriculture.

By Uwe R. Fritsche, Sabine Laaks, Ulrike Eppler
International Institute for Sustainability Analysis and Strategy
April 2015
Berlin

Excerpt:

Executive Summary:

Global land use is dominated by agricultural production, especially permanent grasslands for animal grazing, and for cultivating feed and food crops. The global food system (value chain of production and consumption of food as well as transport, processing etc.) changed radically over the last centuries, from subsistence agriculture and food production within and close to villages and cities to more rural production and urban consumption patterns nowadays, with a growing role of international trade.

The future of the global food system is rather uncertainty due to climate change impacts, diet dynamics, and yield developments. With cities and urban areas being “hotspots” of sustainability challenges and opportunities, urban food systems (as subsets of the global food system) are of interest.

Cities occupy a share of 0.5% of the global land area, and approx. 4% of the global arable land. Thus, urban food production cannot have a major direct impact on global land use, even if many cities will grow substantially in the future. Yet, there are specific agricultural land uses which can possibly be replaced by so-called Urban Agriculture (UA), and activities favoring urban food systems may have important indirect effects.

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August 6, 2015   Comments Off on Urban Food Systems and Global Sustainable Land Use

Could the trend for urban agriculture be putting a strain on city water supplies?

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If all the lawns in this particular neighbourhood were replaced with crops, Johnson and his colleagues estimated that around 37% of the local population would be provided with all their vegetable needs for the year, assuming a 150-day growing season and a density of around 5000 people per square kilometre.

Paper by Mark S Johnson, Michael J Lathuillière, Thoreau R Tooke and Nicholas C Coops
Environmental Research Letters
Vol 10 Number 6
June 9 2015
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

“We estimated that the water demand could increase by more than 50% if urban agriculture were scaled to a significant degree,” said Johnson, who published the findings in Environmental Research Letters (ERL). “Water-smart agriculture – drip irrigation, rain-water harvesting and the like – would help manage the additional water demand and should be encouraged, particularly in regions experiencing water stress.”

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August 4, 2015   Comments Off on Could the trend for urban agriculture be putting a strain on city water supplies?

Thesis: Business models in urban agriculture

wagroofPhoto by By Shuang Liu

Great diversity in their business operations was found among the 46 projects.

By Shuang Liu
Master thesis – Rural Sociology
for degree of the Master in Organic Agriculture at Wageningen University, The Netherlands
Via the blog of Han Wiskerke
Prof.dr.ir. J.S.C. Wiskerke
Professor and Chair of Rural Sociology
Feb 2015

Excerpt:

In this research, I took urban agriculture as a revenue generating and job creation activity by focusing on more market-oriented projects. I tried to describe individual urban agriculture business operations under the framework of the business model. An online questionnaire was distributed worldwide followed with statistical analysis. The questionnaire was designed using nine business building blocks from Business Model Canvas. Based on the reported business characteristics, a cluster analysis was performed in order to find patterns underlying the diversity of their businesses. In total 46 respondents from 18 countries across 6 continents completed the questionnaire and as sucht contributed to the results of my thesis.

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July 7, 2015   Comments Off on Thesis: Business models in urban agriculture

Thesis: ‘Reciprocity: Cultivating Community in Urban Agriculture.’

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Through hands-on fieldwork at East New York Farms!, Kate Weiner ’15 examined urban agriculture as a political project for her thesis, “Reciprocity: Cultivating Community in Urban Agriculture.” (Photo by Laurie Kenney)

My experience at East New York Farms! affirmed for me just how fluid community is.

By Laurie Kenney
Wesleyan University
May 15, 2015

Excerpt:

In this issue of the Wesleyan Connection, we speak with Kate Weiner ’15, an anthropology and environmental studies major.

Q: Can you describe your thesis, “Reciprocity: Cultivating Community in Urban Agriculture”?

A: My thesis is an exploration of how community, identity and belonging interact in urban agricultural spaces, with my hands-on fieldwork with East New York Farms! serving as a case study for examining urban agriculture as a political project. Through melding creative non-fiction, feminist theory, community politics and environmental studies, the intention of my thesis is to provide a framework for understanding the various social, natural, socioeconomic and political factors that shape community-making within urban agriculture.

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May 22, 2015   Comments Off on Thesis: ‘Reciprocity: Cultivating Community in Urban Agriculture.’

Managing change and building resilience: A multi-stressor analysis of urban and peri-urban agriculture in Africa and Asia

1940-50
Tending the garden, Sichuan, China, ca.1940-1950.

Resilience of UPA systems is being undermined by urban growth pressures

By Jon Padghama, Jason Jabbourb, Katie Dietrichc,
Urban Climate
Volume 12, June 2015, Pages 183–204

START and UNEP, along with several partners in Africa and South Asia, recently completed a 9-city assessment of urban and peri-urban agriculture that focused on the environmental dimensions of UPA. An article in Urban Climate synthesizing the findings of the assessment is available here. The article examines how poor governance, haphazard urban growth patterns and extreme events are amplifying impacts on UPA systems that may undermine the capacity of UPA systems to meet urban food as well as adaptation needs.

The assessments can be accessed at http://start.org/programs/upa

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May 16, 2015   Comments Off on Managing change and building resilience: A multi-stressor analysis of urban and peri-urban agriculture in Africa and Asia

Investigating the association between urban agriculture and food security, dietary diversity, and nutritional status: A systematic literature review

WRStarksketchbookClick image for larger file.

We identified 11,192 potentially relevant studies and included 13 papers from 12 unique studies.

By Emily Warrena, Sophie Hawkesworthb, Cécile Knaib,
Food Policy
Vol 53, May 2015
Pages 54-66

Highlights

UA may improve dietary diversity in developing and transitional economies.

Evidence suggests that UA may be associated with improved food security.

Poor quality and weak study designs hinder interpretation and assessing causation.

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May 13, 2015   Comments Off on Investigating the association between urban agriculture and food security, dietary diversity, and nutritional status: A systematic literature review

In Pursuit of Resilient Community Gardens

inpursuit

A Comparison between Bottom-Up and Hybrid Initiatives in New York and Amsterdam

By Beatriz Pineda,
Spanish urban planner and architect living in Amsterdam
This academic article is the final product of the Research Master’s in Urban Studies conducted at the University of Amsterdam (2012-2014).

Except from Abstract:

The numerous bottom-up initiatives appearing in Western cities, especially since the outbreak of the economic crisis in 2008, leads this research to focus on the future and endurance of these projects. Sometimes implemented and maintained only by citizens, other times supported by institutions, all of these initiatives aim at becoming successful and resilient. But how to measure the resilience of these grassroots efforts is still open to debate.

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November 23, 2014   Comments Off on In Pursuit of Resilient Community Gardens

Global assessment of urban and peri-urban agriculture: irrigated and rainfed croplands

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Understanding the role of urban and peri-urban crop production in urban food security at scale remains a major knowledge gap in the field of urban agriculture.

By A L Thebo1, P Drechsel and E F Lambin
Environmental Research Letters
Published 3 November 2014

Abstract

The role of urban agriculture in global food security is a topic of increasing discussion. Existing research on urban and peri-urban agriculture consists largely of case studies that frequently use disparate definitions of urban and peri-urban agriculture depending on the local context and study objectives. This lack of consistency makes quantification of the extent of this practice at the global scale difficult. This study instead integrates global data on croplands and urban extents using spatial overlay analysis to estimate the global area of urban and peri-urban irrigated and rainfed croplands.

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November 11, 2014   Comments Off on Global assessment of urban and peri-urban agriculture: irrigated and rainfed croplands

Is there a future for Krakovo gardens in Ljubljana, Slovenia?

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Gardens in the Krakovo district. Photo by E. Kase.

Only twenty years ago the Krakovo gardens were an important source of fresh vegetable for town people in Ljubljana.

By Katja Vadnal, Marijana Jakše, Vesna Ali? and Danica Jereb-Bolka
Field Actions Science Reports
Special Issue 1 2010

Abstract:

Urban agriculture is more or less marginalized within the theory, as well as within the conceptualization of sustainable development for Slovene towns. The spatial development plan of Ljubljana reflects the situation: permanent and temporary locations for gardens are to be situated all over the town, but there is no place for them in the inner city centre, in visually exposed sites, or near areas of cultural heritage. Yet, in the very inner centre of Ljubljana, 1.8 ha of allotment gardens are protected as cultural heritage. Therefore the case of these gardens, known as the Krakovo gardens, was used to discuss the perspective of urban agriculture in Ljubljana.

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November 6, 2014   Comments Off on Is there a future for Krakovo gardens in Ljubljana, Slovenia?

Urban agriculture: a global analysis of the space constraint to meet urban vegetable demand

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Figure 1. PAN a (Percentage of urban Area Needed) to meet the actual consumption of vegetables by urban dwellers through UA (target A). Click on image for larger file.

UA should also be actively promoted in smaller cities, rather than focussing exclusively on large cities, because smaller urban areas actually comprise the majority of the total urban area.

By F Martellozzo1, J-S Landry1, D Plouffe1, V Seufert1, P Rowhani and N Ramankutty1
Environmental Research Letters Volume 9 Number 6
Published 18 June 2014

Abstract

Urban agriculture (UA) has been drawing a lot of attention recently for several reasons: the majority of the world population has shifted from living in rural to urban areas; the environmental impact of agriculture is a matter of rising concern; and food insecurity, especially the accessibility of food, remains a major challenge. UA has often been proposed as a solution to some of these issues, for example by producing food in places where population density is highest, reducing transportation costs, connecting people directly to food systems and using urban areas efficiently. However, to date no study has examined how much food could actually be produced in urban areas at the global scale.

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August 5, 2014   Comments Off on Urban agriculture: a global analysis of the space constraint to meet urban vegetable demand

Nourishing the city: The rise of the urban food question in the Global North

ImplementsAnimated1811CharlesWilliams
1811. ‘Implements Animated’ by Charles Williams.

“… the new political visibility of urban agriculture in the post-industrial cities of the Global North,”

By Kevin Morgan
School of Planning and Geography, Cardiff University, UK
Urban Studies published by SAGE online 21 May 2014

Excerpt from: ‘The rise of urban agriculture’

Once considered to be ‘the ultimate oxymoron’, urban agriculture is now part of a burgeoning movement that aims to ‘farm the city’ for a whole series of reasons, including growing food for personal or commercial purposes, nurturing social capital and fashioning alternative food networks. For some radical geographers, urban agriculture can even help redress social and ecological alienation in capitalist societies by helping to ‘re-establish a conscious metabolic relationship between humans and our biophysical environment by reintegrating intellectual and manual labour’ (McClintock, 2010: 202).

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June 9, 2014   Comments Off on Nourishing the city: The rise of the urban food question in the Global North

Chapter 18 – Urban Agriculture: The Allotment Gardens as Structures of Urban Sustainability

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Organic allotment gardens on Cascais.

Complete Chapter On-line

By Rute Sousa Matos and Desidério Sales Batista
CHAIA (Center of Art History and Artistic Investigation), University of Évora, Évora, University of Algarve, Faro, Portugal

In Advances in Landscape Architecture
Edited by Murat Özyavuz
924 pages, Publisher: InTech,
Chapters published July 01, 2013

Excerpt:

Although urban farming is conditioned by many social and political circumstances and political regimes, urban legislators and support institutions may make a substantial contribution to the development of a safe and sustainable farming through:

-The creation of a guiding environmental policy and the formal acceptance of allotment gardens as an urban feature;

The strengthening of the access to urban voids and to the safety of farming use;

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March 29, 2014   Comments Off on Chapter 18 – Urban Agriculture: The Allotment Gardens as Structures of Urban Sustainability

Urban Agriculture Policy Making in New York’s “New Political Spaces”

somerset
‘Somerset Gardens’ by Jenny Beck. Date painted 1999.

Strategizing for a Participatory and Representative System

By Nevin Cohen, Kristin Reynolds
The New School, New York, NY, USA
Journal of Planning Education and Research
March 17, 2014
Complete paper on-line.

Excerpts:

Abstract

U.S. cities have implemented policies to support urban agriculture (UA), often developed in “new political spaces” formed when conventional policy mechanisms are unable to resolve municipal problems. This article examines these processes in New York City, particularly aspects of UA that existing policies, plans, and research strategies have not fully addressed. Interviews with UA stakeholders and an analysis of the city’s UA policy-making processes show that resource needs, along with race- and class-based disparities within the UA system remain. We recommend several policy and research strategies for creating a more participatory, representative, and multifunctional UA system.

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March 28, 2014   Comments Off on Urban Agriculture Policy Making in New York’s “New Political Spaces”

The rise of the ‘food charter’: A mechanism to increase urban agriculture

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‘Geographisch-historisches Handbuch von Bayern’. Click on image for larger file.

By Michael Hardmana, Peter J. Larkhamb,
Land Use Policy
Available online Mar 22, 2014

Highlights:

Food charters are on the rise and are increasingly used as tools to enable urban agriculture.

Charters can be positive mechanisms for encouraging engagement between key actors in the city.

There is some reluctance to adopt the concept has been shown.

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March 28, 2014   Comments Off on The rise of the ‘food charter’: A mechanism to increase urban agriculture

UN Report on ‘Right to Food’ supports urban agriculture

peterbruegel
Pieter Brueghel the Younger (1564/65 – 1637/38). ‘Spring’, between 1622-35. Part of a series of four pictures of seasonal activities, this painting illustrates spring chores in a garden. The edges of the raised beds are being firmed up, the soil prepared, and the first plantings set out. Click on image for larger file.

“Urban and peri-urban agriculture, as well as the development of short food chains connecting cities to their local foodshed, will therefore play an increasingly important role.”

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food,
Olivier De Schutter
Final report: The transformative potential of the right to food
Jan 24, 2014

Excerpt:

38. A wide range of social innovations have emerged in recent years to support the rebuilding of local food systems, primarily by reconnecting urban consumers with local food producers.

In Canada, the Special Rapporteur learned about a number of initiatives that seek to support relocalized food systems. In Montreal, for instance, urban agriculture initiatives include a community gardening programme managed by the City, and collective gardens managed by community organizations, with impacts that go beyond improved food security and nutrition, contributing also to educational and empowerment goals.

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March 21, 2014   Comments Off on UN Report on ‘Right to Food’ supports urban agriculture