Urban Farming

Main Feature / 1st Quarter 2020

Urban Farming

by Alakesh Dutta

March 11, 2020

Urban farming is the cultivation of plants and fish, and the raising of livestock within and around cities. It commands a significant level of commerce, which makes it much more than just homesteading or subsistence farming.

Urban farming is embedded into various parts of an urban ecosystem with which it is constantly interacting. It consumes scarce urban resources like water and energy; it engages urban residents as labourers and consumers; it becomes part of urban networks of storage and distribution; it impacts urban ecology and most significantly, it competes for land with several other components of urban infrastructure.


The increasing attention that urban farming has been gaining in cities stems from the extreme stress that they are experiencing to provide safe and adequate amount of food to all strata of society. By this year, the developing countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America will be home to 75 per cent of all urban dwellers.

The challenge to provide equitable access to food is not just limited to these developing countries. For example, 80 per cent of the population in California are urban residents. The cities in the San Francisco Bay Area alone import 2.5 to 3 million tonnes of food daily over an average distance of 500 to 1,000 miles.

But this food fails to reach one out of every eight people in the region who live under the poverty line.


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