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11 Chapter 08 Urban Agriculture

11 Chapter 08 Urban Agriculture

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Sustainable Neighbourhoods Design Manual - produced by the Sustainability Institute 2009/2010
Sustainable Neighbourhoods Design Manual - produced by the Sustainability Institute 2009/2010

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Published by: Sustainable Neighbourhoods Network on Nov 29, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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page 121
“The world ood
situation is being rapidly redened by new driving orces. Changes in ood availability,rising commodity prices and new producer-consumer linkages have crucial implications or the livelihoodso poor and ood-insecure people.”
 Von Braun. 2007
by Gareth Haysom: Sustainability Institute
Urban agricUltUre
and Food SecUrity
Urban Agriculture
(UA) can be dened as an industry located within (intra-urban) or on the ringe (peri-urban) o a town, a city or a metropolis, which grows and raises, processes and distributes, a diversity o oodand non-ood products, (re)using largely human and material resources, products and services ound in andaround that urban area, and in turn supplying human and material resources, products and services largelyto that urban area (Mougeot. 2005).
deFining Urban agricUltUre
Sustainable Urban Agriculture
While there are many critical contributors to the advancement o or decline in sustainability, our key ocusareas are where we live and work and the related contributors (shelter); the uel that “powers” our wayo lie (energy); how we, and the goods we consume, are moved (transport); and lastly, what we eat and
chapter 8
page 122
how the ood we eat is produced (agriculture). A sustainable neighourhood recognises the interrelationshipbetween these contributors that together with many local and site specic needs become critical in theormulation o strategies and approaches pertinent to the unctioning o the urban environment. The nexusbetween development, ecological services preservation, social justice and the economy impacts directly onall strategies and policies o a neighbourhood development. This chapter attempts to address what is required or a neighourhood to eectively support its residents toaccess healthy, nutritious and local ood. Specically, what is necessary or this to be done in a manner thatenhances social justice, the supply and maintenance o ecological services and a neighourhood’s eectiveunctioning? At a time o great insecurity that requires approaches to consider a ar deeper and longerterm view, strategies must be adopted that actively build capital (not only economic, but also social andecological capital) instead o degrading it? The recent review o the current industrialised approach to ood production by the United Nations International Assessment o Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology or Development report (UN IAASTD.2008) highlights the signicant faws o this approach. The report argues or undamental changes in theworld’s agricultural systems. It highlights the inequitable distribution o costs and benets o the presentagricultural systems, particularly the pervasive infuence o agribusiness and unair trade policies that havenegatively impacted on communities in the developing world. According to Washington-based InternationalFood Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), low growth rates in ood production “will be insucient to meet theexpected increase in demand. IFPRI research suggests that prospects or a ood secure world in 2020look bleak i the global community continues with ‘business as usual,’ (Scherr. 1999). In this regard theIAASTD report proposed that smallholder agro-ecological arming will be more eective at meeting today’sood production challenges than the old energy and chemical-intensive paradigm o industrial agriculture, i societal inequalities are to be reversed.Urban neighourhoods are becoming the dominant human environment and between now and 2050, thebulk o urbanisation is expected to occur within developing world urban centres. It ollows that eorts toaddress ood and nutritional security need to be identied within the urban context. Food production inurban neighourhoods has a long tradition in many countries and the UNDP (1998) has estimated that urbanagriculture produces between 15 and 20 % o the world’s ood.
page 123
Considering the ood needs o a city and using the City o Cape Town as an example and by applying theinternationally recognised norm o 0.4 hectares o arable land to eed a person, the ood needs or the City oCape Town, using the 2006 population fgures o 3 240 000 (PGWC. 2006), would mean that Cape Town requires1.3 million hectares to sustain its population. This is in act 9.2 percent o South Arica’s arable land. This meansthat ootprint in terms o ood production is signifcant. Food plays a vital role in broader sustainability issues andood production is seen as a key element within uture strategies or an urban area or even region in terms oboth ootprint reduction but also social justice and ecological sustainability.
 The real potential o urban agriculture is the satisaction o basic needs by providing ood through improvedproduction and distribution systems, income, employment, environmental protection, and savings in transportand oreign currency costs in developing countries (Egziabher. 1994). Analysis o a number o experiencesin several cities regarding the integration o urban agriculture in urban planning (Dubbeling et al. 2001),leads to the conclusion that these experiences, although developed separately, ollow a similar logic andmethodological process which include: 
Why Urban Agriculture?
Urban centres require processes to close open loop systems in which consumables are imported rom adistance into urban areas. In these open loop systems, post-consumer packaging and other waste materialsaect local and distant biospheres via ground, air and coastal water pollution, disease and other knock-oneects. This throughput o resources in towns and cities must be reduced.Urban agriculture has the potential to link cities and their environments, and in so doing reduce these throughputs.Urban agriculture is an increasingly acceptable, aordable and eective tool or sustainable urbanisation (Girardetet al. 1999). Potential benets include ood security, ood sovereignty, ecological and biodiversity restoration,urban greening, water recharge and cleaning, the ostering o social cohesion and general urban renewal.Urban agriculture is not limited to poor areas within the urban orm, but rather, it responds to the needs o citydwellers living in a variety o dierent urban modalities, rom diering economic backgrounds.While urban agriculture may seem to be a somewhat simple process, it alls prey to many obstacles. Howurban agriculture is integrated into existing policy and development strategies in urban neighourhoods, andin particular how urban agriculture is viewed by planners and key decision makers, is core to the success orailure o urban agricultural practices.

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