Thursday, May 14, 2009
Urban agricultureUrban agriculture (UA) – the production of food within a city – is an important aspect of securing our food supply as well as restoring our communities. There are some obvious and immediate benefits to urban farming, such as bringing our food closer to us and reducing transportation energy, but the impact and benefits are far reaching, especially in cities with large impoverished communities. There are at least four major ways in which we can benefit:
- Access to a local, fresh, organic, varied diet,
- Community upliftment,
- Effective use of land,
- Improved food security.
Community upliftment. Many cities (certainly in developing countries) have large improverished communities as a result of rural to urban migration and many other societal conditions. UA offers a number of benefits for these communities, the biggest of which is access to food. The first output of urban farms in these communities is food for the community. Once the immediate needs of the community are met any excess food can be sold for income. Improvement of the soil quality and the greening of these communities also help to improve living conditions.
Effective use of land. Unproductive vacant lots, parts of parks and gardens can be turned into productive farms. These farms will require organic waste materials to produce compost which reduces the load on cities waste management facilities.
Improved food security. UA is a distributed model of farming which helps to buffer the communities that it serves against any variations in food supply. If there was a failure in the food supply chain, or if transport costs significantly raised the price of food, UA communities would still be able to access food – hopefully for an extended period of time. Cuba is an interesting extreme example of this. The shutting down of foreign supplies resulted in unused areas within the cities being used to produce food crops and support the country's food need. The distributed model also means that a failure of a single UA farm would not significantly impact on the food supply. The organic methods used also provide security through improved genetic diversity of crops.
The benefits for the communities these farms serve and the cities in which they reside are far reaching and will lead to a better quality of life for all urban dwellers. Each of us have the opportunity to engage with our food and where it comes from – that is the first step towards a full scale urban agriculture system. The tomatoes in the picture above were grown in my garden :)
In Cape Town Abalimi Bezekhaya (which means planters of the home) help to establish community gardens which improve food security and provide additional sustainable income to their tenders. Abalimi also has a number of greening projects which help to improve the living environment of impoverished communities. On Tuesday 26 May 2009 there is a tour of their operation which I will be going on. The tour begins at 09h00 in Wynberg and finishes at 12h00. Please let me know if you will be joining me.
Get the latest posts immediately
or enter your email address:
About this blog
About Engineer Simplicity
Engineer Simplicity specialises in the design and development of electronic products.
We are in the middle of an energy crisis and each of us need to make some dramatic changes to ensure that we have electricity, and that the ...
eWaste is a particularly difficult issue to deal with as it contains many different materials and lots of extremely hazardous substances. I...
Electronic design automation tools like OrCAD , PADS and Altium Designer are part of an electronic engineer's day–to–day life. We need...
As engineers we spend a lot of time solving problems. A customer has a problem and it needs to be fixed. The electronic boards you have just...
"As meaningless as changing a CFL may be, the people that change the CFL bulbs get engaged in the discussion – and that's important...
The short version (my "elevator pitch"): Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) use about a fifth of the energy of a normal (incandesc...
I am an advocate of making sure that every device consumes as little power as possible at all times. Indicator lights should be off, process...
The advert ends with the line, "The walls between art and engineering exist only in our minds." There are a couple of ways to i...
Mercury in compact fluorescent tubes (CFLs) is a health hazard and therefore we should not use CFLs....at least that is the false message b...
This post forms a part of the SA Blook . So what is our reality? South Africa has an unemployment rate of about 23%, a skills shortage cr...
- June (1)
- April (1)
- March (3)
- February (2)
- January (2)
- November (3)
- October (5)
- September (1)
- August (2)
- July (3)
- June (4)
- May (3)
- April (2)
- March (2)
- February (4)
- January (1)