Let's Talk About Urban Agriculture
The issue of growing cities and its dangerous effects has become increasingly crucial. Increased urbanization means increased pollution and the loss of green spaces, including agricultural land. In response, more individuals and cities are championing urban agriculture. But what actually is urban agriculture? What does the practice involve? Is it actually a feasible option? And what does the future of urban agriculture look like in Albertan cities? Keep reading to find out!
What is urban agriculture?
Urban agriculture refers to the growth of produce and raising of animals within the urban environment. However, it's not as simple as just growing produce in urban spaces--urban agriculture integrates itself into the urban food system. Urban farms can be started in just about any space--backyards, community gardens, vacant lots, etc.
Who is an urban farmer?
According to the RUAF Foundation's website, urban farmers aren't necessarily agricultural farmers that move into the cities and start growing produce or raising animals in a new setting. What makes urban farmers unique is that they're individuals that are fully integrated into an urban lifestyle--individuals like you and me.
The benefits of urban agriculture
Urban ag creates more green spaces in and around cities which counters the issue of increased emissions and waste pollution. Additionally, urban waste can become a resource for urban farms: organic waste (fruit, paper, bones, etc.) can be used for compost and urban farmers can use wastewater for irrigation.
The Future of Urban Agriculture in Edmonton
- Organizations like Sustainable Food Edmonton and Prairie Urban Farm encourage individuals to get involved with urban agriculture, whether it's through the implementation of community gardens or creating programs in local elementary, junior high and high schools. Prairie Farm's Farm on Wheels has provided various schools with the tools and resources for creating their own farms and works to alleviate the issue of food security.
- As of February 2016, the City of Edmonton has made a commitment to increasing urban agriculture in the city by approving changes to Zoning Bylaw that will allow for more local food production in the city. This will include utilizing vacant lots and an increase in the amount of community gardens.
Despite the various commitments to urban agriculture that we see, there is still a long way to go before it becomes an integral parts of cities. What are your thoughts on urban agriculture? Do you think cities could do more to encourage urban farming? Let us know in the comments!