As urban populations boom, urban agriculture is increasingly looked to as a local food source and a way to help combat inequitable food access and food deserts.
As urban populations boom, urban agriculture is increasingly looked to as a local food source and a way to help combat inequitable food access and food deserts. But little is known about how productive urban agriculture is compared to conventional, rural farming. A new study led by Lancaster University researchers finds urban gardeners and hydroponics can meet and sometimes exceed the yields of rural farms.
“Urban food growing is often dismissed as something that cannot meaningfully contribute to food security”, said Professor Jess Davies, project lead for the Rurban Revolution project that developed this study. “In this work we set out to examine the global evidence base and gather the hard evidence on whether towns and cities can provide good food growing environments?”
The new paper compiles studies on urban agriculture from 53 countries to find out which crops grow well in cities, what growing methods are most effective, and which spaces can be utilised for growing. The researchers find that urban yields for some crops, like cucumbers, tubers and lettuces, are two to four times higher than conventional farming. Many other urban crops studied are produced at similar or higher rates than in rural settings. Cost efficiency remains an open but important question.
Read More at: Lancaster University
Photo Credit: © Roots in the City Community Garden, Liverpool