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