Urban agriculture

Good cities often have much greenery. Large plants like trees and bushes are used for decorative purposes and to give a sense of natural habitat to city dwellers.

The planting is traditionally done on the street level, but is also now found on many levels in all kinds of building. The aim is to soften the image, make the building seem ecological. Architects increasingly use “greening” as a tool in their work – often as part of landscaping and developing sustainable cities.

Now another force is coming up: Growing plants for food in cities, distributing and consuming them locally. This is small scale agriculture aiming to be ecological and fully sustainable. It is now being developed through projects in several cities.

This is called community based agriculture, and is utilizing new concepts of thinking and technology. Among these are criticism of the unsound global economic food production system, edible landscape thinking, grow food where people are, create pretty neighbourhoods, hydroponics.

The places used are rooftops, greenhouses, allotments, community gardens, roadsides, parks, hydroponic installations.

On a larger scale this becomes quite complex – the physical environment, landscaping, economics, social considerations, the ecology. City regulation and educating people must be part of it. Schools often find a special place in these developments.

Agriculture is also animals, so rearing animals for food is part of the plans.

The ecological side weighs heavy – no pesticides, organic growth, water and waste management.

The aim is both to employ people and feed them, make products locally available so that little transport is needed.

The choice of produce is important – products must suit the urban conditions and restrictions – so fruits require trees, vegetables can be harvested, flowers, herbs etc. Animals must be small – chickens for eggs – but milk production can be possible, rearing and slaughtering big and many animals may be difficult.

These processes have started – we are learning and progressing.

And what about beekeping in the city: non-aggressive bees that is?  See New York Times

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