The world’s population is growing, and 9.5 billion people are forecast for the year 2050. And this puts the planet under pressure in several ways. To secure the subsistence minimum in terms of calorie supply in the future alone, 850 million hectares of additional farmland will be needed – and will simply not be available. And this diverts attention to alternative spaces, such as those seemingly unsuitable ones in our cities. Anyone who lives here and has an appetite for fresh fruit and vegetables can go to the weekly market, to the greengrocer on the corner or to the supermarket. But what about harvesting lettuces, tomatoes or radishes straight from the field? Usually unthinkable for city dwellers. But there are both large-scale ideas and small-scale initiatives with the aim of changing that.
Because there are many benefits associated with the integration of food production into the city. Behind it is the concept of regional supply: The city feeds itself – at least in part. This shortens distances and lowers the CO2 emissions caused by transport. It also has a positive impact on microclimate and biodiversity. Urban farming can also achieve social benefits:
Collectively tending the neighbourhood vegetable garden brings people closer together while taking responsibility for their city and public space at the same time. And, not least, our appreciation of food and its quality changes when we integrate production into our immediate surroundings.
This also allows for cities to become sufficient in food supply, to their communities and those who may be less fortunate to afford fresh produce daily. It can benefit a magnitude of people who could all survive of locally grown produce.
By transforming unused spaces such as rooftops, unused car parks and even old abandoned warehouses into greenhouses we can shape a future that is pragmatic and less dependant on supermarkets and excessive food chains. This means we can deliver more food, cheaper to more people.
A brighter future for the planet and the people in it.