Urban agriculture

A Microgreen provided by Wealth of Health Uzbekistan

We have just finished the sustainable agribusiness training for Central Asia and the Caucasus region. It was a memorable moment again.

One of the participants gave me a cup. It comes with a packet of seeds. She said that ” by just pouring water and waiting for ten days, you can eat a fresh vegetable.” How wonderful, it’s like magic, I thought.

The above picture was taken actually ten days later. It is a microgreen of radish. Microgreens are vegetable greens (not to be confused with sprouts or shoots) harvested just after the cotyledon leaves have developed with one set of true leaves. They are used as a nutrition supplement and a visual enhancement. (Wikipedia)

She sells this product and also provides agricultural and environmental education in urban areas.

Urban Agriculture

Microgreen is one of the urban agricultural methods. There are various types of urban agricultural methods such as small-scale horticulture using open spaces, roof-tops, greenhouses, or in-house production.
Urban agriculture has various benefits for sustainability.

Food and Environmental Education

In the previous article, I mentioned dietary habit is a leverage point to transform a sustainable food system. According to the FAO’s information, 55% of the world’s population resides in urban areas and 79% of all food produced is destined for consumption in cities. Therefore food and environmental education in urban areas are essential for dietary transformation. Urban agriculture can provide some opportunities for urban citizens to think about food and agriculture.

Business opportunities (Economical benefits)

If you can produce healthy vegetables and fruits in urban areas, you can deliver fresh products directly to customers and also reduce transportation costs.

Social benefits

Urban agriculture can provide social benefits.

Vancouver urban farm combines agriculture with social goals by the Canadian press

As the above short video mentioned, urban agriculture gives job opportunities and heal people who have some difficulties in their life.

Environmental benefits

Urban agriculture can access urban customers faster and shorter than the current food supply chain, therefore it can reduce the ecological footprint. In addition, according to research, it can cool urban areas.

Food system transformation with urban agriculture
A Systems Thinking Approach to Community-Based Urban Agriculture | Kalen Pilkington | TEDxMacEwanU

A food system is a complex system that is involved a lot of stakeholders. Therefore, we should use systems thinking and see the whole system and its dynamic behavior. If you do so, you will gain some insights like Kalen described in the above video.

Let’s start small. Microgreens might be a leverage point and make a butterfly effect.

4 thoughts on “Urban agriculture”

  1. Great ideas! Not only horticulture, husbandry is possible to do in urban areas, too. For example, we can keep some bee hives in the gardens to collect the nectar (honey) from near-by flowers…

  2. Hi Mr Tsuboi!
    How are you!
    Hope you are fine!

    Urbanization has contributed to economic growth, but it has contributed to climate change, pollution and the growth of slums.

    in Algeria, the big cities record a high population rate which induces imbalances in the territory and overconsumption of ressources : water, soil, etc.

    In Algeria the consideration of agriculture by the city is not a recent phenomenon, on the contrary, since the beginning of urbanism, the question of the place of agriculture in the city has formally arisen.

    Our country has set up urban farms which are urban spaces invested by citizens to develop agricultural activity. We are talking about urban agriculture.

    Some of our actors (landscapers or designer-gardeners) define the notion of agricultural urbanism or agri-urbanism as an inverted territory.

    Urban agriculture plays an active role in urban food security.

    Urban agriculture allows to cover part of the food needs of urban populations by a production emanating from the cities themselves.

    But in our country, there are several disadvantages when adopting the strategy of urban agriculture.

    The main disadvantage of urban agriculture is the potential impact of city pollution on the products. Soil pollution can indeed be transmitted to plants and be harmful to the health of consumers.

    Algeria has integrated the programs of urban development in the green plan which is part of the Algiers strategic plan for 2035.

    The International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM) has just looked into the role and the future of this type of agriculture, through its recommendations dedicated to ” urban agriculture in the mediterranean”.

    In Algeria, neither the agriculture sector nor the housing and urbanization sector have adopted strategies setting long-term objectives.

    To strengthen the strategy of urban agriculture in the long-term, it is necessary to establish a complementarity between these two sectors, and that their respective leaders do not act separately, by making contradictory choices or by carrying out short- term operations.

    The most effective strategy is to encourage institutional collaboration in favor of urban agriculture, that is to say , to involve all the relevant institutional ” actors”.

    Nesrine Charef from Algeria.


    1. Hi, Nesrine-san,
      Thank you for your comment, always.
      “Agri-urbanism” is nice concept. Let’s transform it to be sustainable.
      As you mentioned, soil contamination will be a common issue in Urban agriculture.
      The case in Canada that I shared its video also solves this problem using plastic containers.
      Perhaps, we can apply some kinds of biologial treatments. What do you think?

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