Countries such as China, Japan and Cuba have been developing urban farms for decades.
Urban farms, a stimulating developmental pulse /
Building basements, empty lots, shared gardens, are some of the spaces that can be used to develop urban farms. Rooftops, and cellars, and practically any other space, can be transformed into centres of food production, since techniques such as hydroponics that use artificial irrigation and light, have increased the possibility of accomplishing practically any type of crop, in practically any space.
Today, countries such as Germany and Canada are beginning to employ, massively, urban farms. In Germany’s case, they have done so especially on empty lots of land —which implies a double win of sorts, since it is in sync with urban regeneration initiatives. In Canada’s case, for example, in the centre of Vancouver, the University of British Columbia built a farm adapted to a traditional market. The latter not only translates onto an economically profitable pulse, but it also allows an urban population to reconnect with nature —and the multiple benefits this entails.
In Kenya, the Italian organization Cooperazione Internazionale (COOPI), helps some communities produce food in large compost bags. Cuba, when facing the lack of fuel after the dissolution of the USSR, turned to incorporating farms into cities, to avoid transporting the products. Today this country has 200 urban farms that produce lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, spinach, herbs and other crops, which supply the local markets. Another notable case is Japan, where they produce rice in the basements of buildings, using artificial light and hydroponic technology.
A particularly interesting initiative is Meine Ernte, a German company that rents land lots, providing the tools and even the seeds for crops, however, the leasers are the ones in charge of taking care of the crops.
The practice of urban farming is growing in size and number, due to the popularity of healthier living styles and sustainable and profitable production processes. This adaptation of crops to the metropolis cheapens the produce, and encourages a more harmonic interaction within the city, and stimulates the contact inhabitants have with nature. In few words, it is an unsurpassable tool to face some of the more complex urban challenges.Tagged: urbanism, urban farms, Agents of Change, right to food, food Credits: Image (Cyrus Dowlatshahi for Brooklyn Grange)