Urban and peri-urban agriculture in the global food security conundrum
Keywords:Food Gardens, Urban Agriculture, Food Security, Food Deserts
Rural exodus and increased urbanization have led to the development of urban slums in major cities across the world, resulting in food insecurity. Food deserts and food pantries are cropping up in the developed world as famine and malnutrition ravage parts of the developing world, exacerbated by endless conflicts. Therefore, food systems and value chains are facing pressures and are increasingly vulnerable due to strains on natural ecosystems and the impact of climate change. These strains have impacted not only land use, but also soil quality, leading to reduced quantity and quality of food available at reasonable costs to the urban poor. Thus, there is an urgent need for creative methods of food production in the urban centers to improve the sustainable food supply value chain. Food gardens as part of urban agriculture have the potential to mitigate the rise in hunger and food insecurity as it has inherent health, socio-cultural, environmental, and economic benefits as documented by Lawson (2005) and in Soleri, Cleveland, and Smith’s Food Gardens for a Changing World. Urban food gardens provide fresh, nutritious food that alleviates hunger and improves the health and wellbeing of the local community—plus any excess produce can be sold for additional income. Food gardens improve urban environmental quality and carbon footprint, and add value as places of community connection, networking, and empowerment.
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