June 24 2011

5 Reasons to Feed Yourself: Urban Agriculture in American Cities

Increasing food prices due to transportation, labor, and resources, have led to a revolution in the way that people perceive and purchase their food. Considering that more than half of the world’s population lives in urban settings, an efficient and effective use of the city structure was inevitable. Pairing the necessity of food, with the use of available space, gave way to a new method of production, known as urban agriculture.

In most cases, urban agriculture takes place in unused urban spaces, which can range from dilapidated lots, to the rooftop of a high-rise building. In fact, the use of rooftops for agricultural production is becoming the conventional style in urban settings. The abundance of flat rooftops in cities leads to a great potential for food production.

5 reasons why urban agriculture is beneficial:

  1. Reduces carbon emissions by lowering transportation necessity;
  2. Spurs local economy and creates new business opportunities;
  3. Reduces the heat island effect produced by barren roofs;
  4. Educates individuals and groups about food growth & consumption;
  5. Proves that food can be grown in atypical settings.

Businesses, such as the Brooklyn Grange, use the guidance of architects, landscape architects, and engineers, to determine the viability of installing a garden on a roof.

And one unique group in Brooklyn created the Truck Farm, which serves as a “mobile community farm,” acting as a model for urban agriculture. The team retrofitted an older Dodge truck to be able to house and grow food for its small Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) organization, proving that agricultural production in cities (and atypical places) is possible.

With urban agriculture on the rise in cities, should it become more of a priority in a city’s urban planning? Should urban agriculture be part of short-range and long-range planning goals? What are your ideas?

Paul Drummond

Paul Drummond is a recent graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Landscape Architecture. Paul received the A.S.L.A Student Honor Award and has worked as a teaching assistant at the University of Maryland, along with shoreline restoration companies along the Chesapeake Bay. A native of Maryland and having lived on both sides of the state, Paul draws inspiration and ecological awareness from the entire state, ranging from the Appalachian Mountains of Western Maryland, to the estuaries, marshes, and agrarian landscape of the Eastern Shore.

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This entry was posted on Friday, June 24th, 2011 at 11:56 am and is filed under Architecture, Environmental Design, Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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