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Urban Farming: Solutions to Urban Household Food Security

Updated: Mar 22



We know that urban areas are densely populated. Job opportunities, public facilities and education are the reasons that most people migrate to cities. However, limited land means that urban communities rarely produce their own food.

 

Urban farming or agricultural trends in urban areas such as cities are a solution to meet people's food needs. And usually, urban farming tends to require little land.

 

With limited land and an ever-increasing urban population, urban farming has become a creative alternative to provide fresh, local food and overcome food security challenges.


What is Urban Farming?

 

In ancient times, Mesopotamian city dwellers set aside land in their homes to be used as a medium for farming. During World War II, urban communities tried to meet their food needs through “victory gardens”. During the war, the need for food from agricultural products increased so the government asked people to carry out agricultural practices independently from the farm community to help meet their food needs, using whatever land was available. This meant alongside roads and railways, in public parks and of course in people’s private gardens.

 

So, Urban farming is the practice of farming and animal husbandry carried out in an urban environment. This practice includes various activities such as growing vegetables, fruits, flowers, and even raising animals, all within the city.

 

In recent years, urban agriculture has become a hot topic for agricultural sustainability and social justice advocates, as it can provide a path to positive change. Although during practice, we certainly encounter various kinds of challenges.

 

For example, there are still many buildings built with overhead infrastructure that is not suitable for urban farming practices. On the other hand, practices such as vertical farming have the potential to change urban spatial planning into urban agricultural production centres.



How to Do Urban Farming


Urban farming is usually done by growing plants that are consumed daily, such as vegetables, mushrooms, fruit, tubers, but also includes medicinal plants and ornamental plants.


Urban farming can be done in several steps, namely:

  • Prepare containers and land for planting.

  • Prepare a suitable planting medium, such as garden soil. You can also use other objects as a planting medium, such as peanut shells, coconut fibres, or wood shavings/sawdust.

  • Pay attention to irrigation sources if you intend to grow crops. You need water.

  • Prepare plant seeds whose results you can use or consume, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, and ginger.

Apart from farming, urban farming can also be done by raising animals that are part of the communities normal diet, such as poultry, rabbits, goats, sheep, cows, and fish.



The Benefits of Urban Farming

 

1. It utilises narrow land

Gardening and farming are not always done on hectares of land. With urban farming, you can use the corners of your house that are exposed to sunlight for gardening. For example, the yard, balcony, and even the roof of the house.

 

The type of planting media used is not just conventional planting media such as soil. You can use the hydroponic method which uses a planting medium in the form of water. If the land is limited, choose gardening using verticulture techniques or planting in tiers. The verticulture technique has the benefit of planting as much as possible with minimal land.

 

2. It increases green open space

Urban areas tend to be densely packed with buildings, buildings, and housing. There are very few parks or green open spaces in the city area. The roofs of buildings and buildings are the locations with the most potential for making agricultural land. The land is quite large, and maximum access to sunlight means plants can grow well.

 

With urban farming, increasing the amount of green open space in the city. This also reduces the amount of carbon emissions due to vehicle fumes and factory activities. So, the air becomes cleaner and fresher.

 

3. It fulfils local food needs

 

The existence of urban farming means that food needs can also be met more quickly. For example, vegetables harvested in the city are fresher than vegetables picked from outside the city. The distance travelled for vegetable delivery affects the quality of the freshness of the vegetables.

 

Local products are also healthier and environmentally friendly. Because the planting process requires minimal chemicals and pesticides. This ensures that the body's nutritional needs are met. Utilizing narrow or unused urban land into agricultural land means implementing sustainable agriculture, because it maximizes land.

 

Gardening from home also saves expenses. You can plant more varied vegetables. You can get more expensive vegetables sold in supermarkets by planting them yourself in your yard.

 

4. It reduces carbon footprint

Carbon footprints are not only produced by vehicle exhaust emissions and factory fumes that spread across cities. There are many reasons why humans leave a carbon footprint, from the use of water, food, to daily activities.

 

Buying local vegetables or food can reduce the carbon footprint of greenhouse gases. The distance between producers and consumers is closer, so it can reduce many activities that leave a lot of gas emissions. Food produced in the city usually has to be bought by raw materials from outside the city.

 

The distribution of these raw materials leaves a carbon footprint, from raw material management, storage, to distribution. If the raw materials come from within the city itself, it means that the production actors have cut the carbon footprint resulting from the distribution of raw materials.

 

5. It provides facilities for education & relaxation

When you feel tired from office work, employees or office workers can use the roof of the building to farm for a while. Just watering, weeding, or picking vegetables can be a relaxing activity to reduce work fatigue.

 

Apart from relaxation, urban farming can be used as a means of education for children about the importance of food production and agriculture. The educational process can be carried out at school or at home with parents. Knowledge about agriculture is very important, especially about the origins of how food reaches the table, from the process of sowing seeds, fertilizing, to distributing it to consumers.

 

Urban agriculture or urban farming has many benefits in meeting human needs. Starting from food needs, the availability of clean air, to recreational facilities. By implementing agriculture in the city, we have contributed to environmental preservation.

 

 

 

 

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