Measure Your Harvest (MYHarvest

Jill Edmondson, Jonathan Potter, Kevin Gaston, Jonathan Leake

Food security
WHO definition of food security:“when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”

• Current global population 7 billion and rising • For the first time in history more than 50% of population live in cities and towns • During the last 50 years there has been 15% increase per person in calorie consumption • Projected we need a 70% increase in food production by 2050 • Need to reduce the environmental impact of food production

The UK household CO2 footprint (tonnes per year)
61% 7.2 =31% The UK is committed to reducing direct CO2 emissions by 80% Goods of 1990 values by 2050 services

Need to achieve these CO2 reductions while the population Travel and consequently food production increases
Power Heat

The impact of UK households through direct and indirect generation of greenhouse gasses (Office of National Statistics 2004).

Tonnes CO2 per year

Fruit and vegetables – import versus domestically grown
7% of all agricultural land in the UK is used for cultivation of fruits and vegetables
62% self sufficient in vegetables 9% self sufficient in fruit

70% of our apples are imported

Soft fruit is generally consumed within season (or just before) – 64% grown

Source: Garnett (2006) Fruit and vegetables and UK greenhouse gas emissions: exploring the relationship


75% of the potatoes marketed in the UK are grown domestically

Urban own-growing
• Globally 800 million people practice urban agriculture (LeeSmith 2010) • There is a recognition that urban own-growing can make a significant contribution to sustainability but there are scarce data on attainable yields • We know that more people are interested in growing their own food but we don’t know how much food people are producing
Lee-Smith D. (2010) Environment and Urbanisation 22, 483-499.

Measure Your Harvest MYHarvest

• To work with allotment holders and gardeners to establish current crop yields and cultivated / planted areas.

• What crop yields per unit area are usually achievable by typical gardeners for the main fruit and vegetable crops grown in the UK?

Enable us to provide realistic projections of potential urban food production if expansion of urban agricultural land was included in future strategies for more sustainable cities and towns.

Measure Your Harvest MYHarvest

What crop yields per unit area are usually achievable by typical gardeners for the main fruit and vegetable crops grown in the UK?

MYHarvest – allotment productivity case study
More than 350 allotment sites across the North East cover at least 320 ha. Average cultivated area on allotment plots is 52% The RHS recorded average allotment yield is 3.1 kg m-2 yr-1 in the 1970’s (Tomkins 2006), slightly higher than preliminary MYHarvest yields. Using the RHS yield these data suggest there could be up to 5000 tonnes of fruits and vegetables grown per year on allotments in the North East- enough for 34,000 people on a 5 a day diet
Tomkins, M. (2006) The Edible Urban Landscape: An assessment method for retro-fitting urban agriculture into an inner London test site. MSc. Thesis, University of East London.

North East population 2.6 million – need 230 km2 land assigned specifically for own-growing

Can we increase food production in the North East?
• To support our current lifestyles we need 5-10 ha per person (Rees 2003) but there are only 0.3 ha of productive land per person in the UK. This will shrink by 22% as UK population rises from 61.8 to 80 million by 2050 • Greenspace within urban areas could provide a key productive land resource – What land is available?
Rees WE (2002) Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society 22:249-268


Industrial estates


Increased urban fruit and vegetable production in cities and towns: key questions?

• What fruit and vegetable crops should be grown in cities and towns? • How much land is realistically available? Is that land suitable for own-growing - contaminated? • Does it significantly reduce CO2 emission associated with food transport? Promotion of growing specifically in gardens and in the workplace. • Does an increase in own-growing result in a decrease in food waste? Almost all allotment holders compost there organic waste, would own-growing in gardens increase composting and reduce conventional waste?

• This work was supported by EPSRC grant EP/F007604/1 to the 4M consortium: Measurement, Modelling, Mapping and Management: an Evidence Based Methodology for Understanding and Shrinking the Urban Carbon Footprint. The consortium has 4 UK partners: Loughborough University, De Montfort University, Newcastle University, University of Sheffield and the University of Exeter. SECURE is a consortium of four UK universities, funded by the Engineering and

Physical Sciences Research Council under the Sustainable Urban Environments programme. The university partners are supported by an advisory panel drawn from UK central and local government, industry and academia.

We are grateful to all the contributors to the MYHarvest project and the city and county councils in the North East of England for assistance with the project We thank Infoterra for access to the LandBase Dataset.