Urban farming is where farming or gardening takes place within a city or urban setting. Urban farming is also known as urban agriculture or urban gardening. There are many unique challenges to urban farming that do not exist with traditional, rural agriculture. Space is primary, as well as fractional amounts of pollutants and natural light unique to the city. The main objective of urban farming is the cultivation, processing and distribution of food in or near urban areas. Urban farming can be described as any type of food and non-food production or processing of produce that is sold to consumers within and on the fringes of an urban area.
Urban farming is essentially concerned with growing plants and keeping animals that produce food within a city. This may involve processing and then distributing that food throughout the city. It may or may not be organic, but can at least be classified as 'sustainable'.
Types of Urban Agriculture:
Allotment Garden: An allotment garden is a plot or parcel of urban or suburban land made available for personal, non-commercial gardening or food growing and recreation. Such gardens may consist of a few or up to several hundred cultivated allotment plots that are used by individuals or families as part of an allotment site and are a very important feature in the urban landscape.
Community Garden: Community garden is an emerging form of urban farming. They often arise from self-organizing, bottom-up and "guerrilla gardening" movements in response to social crisis or economic distress. Such gardens can vary in size, from single plots in neighbourhoods with large projects to a vacant lot. These types of gardens are often used to experiment a combination of agricultural and social practices. They are increasing identity to increase social inclusion and strengthen social networks in cities.
Commercial urban farms: As agricultural land becomes increasingly marginalised, urban agriculture needs to be explored on a more commercial scale. Commercial farmers seek to accelerate crop productivity to achieve profitability, but the wider urban farmer can contribute to community health and ecological goals if they execute sustainable agricultural practices that are sensitive to local ecology.
How Maximum yield can be obtained by urban farming:
An urban farm may consist of rooftop agriculture or vacant lot farming. Some form of intensive or vertical gardening must be used due to space constraints in almost all cases of urban agriculture. Greenhouses are a popular form of urban farming.
Most urban farms produce perennial plants, although others produce more specialized plants such as poinsettias or orchids under carefully controlled environmental conditions. Some plants that require vast areas, such as corn or cereals, are not practical for the constraints of an urban farm. Due to space constraints, gardeners must get creative when designing rooftop intensive gardening or vertical gardening in raised beds in the small spaces between buildings.
Vertical farming is a common process in urban farming and often takes place in indoor environments with carefully controlled conditions and lighting. Some vertical farms with greenhouse-like conditions make use of natural light and solar heat. Other vertical farms are entirely indoors and use artificial lighting, and humidification and heating equipment.
Benefits of Urban Farming
Land regeneration: Many cities around the world have parks and open spaces that are underutilized. The successful Chicago urban farmer, discussed earlier, is an example of what is possible in places waiting to be developed or even underutilized sections of public space. Urban agriculture can generate positive activity within these spaces and contribute to lower maintenance costs and has implications for crime reduction and increased personal safety.
Income Generation: The main factor that will be addressed in detail in a later section is the income generation potential of urban agriculture. Many less developed countries have well-developed urban farming as an integral part of their cities, but as the earlier discussion suggested, commercial urban farming is less developed in "Western" cities for quite different reasons.
Reduce Carbon Emissions: By localizing production, urban farms cut the vast amount of fossil fuel consumption required to transport, package and sell food. Urban farming helps reduce their "food print" by providing consumers with the opportunity to purchase food grown within their community.
Innovative Technologies: Since urban areas lack the wide-open fertile plains of traditional agricultural techniques, urban farmers are tasked with finding creative solutions to address challenges such as waste, space, resources, and energy. Because of this, more efficient innovations are made to develop the quality and quantity of food that can be produced with the least amount of resources.
Increases Food Safety: Good for you organic produce isn't cheap at the grocer; In fact, many families cannot afford. In other words, they lack food security. Food security means being able to access and afford nutritious, safe food and enough food. It is the main concern for many families all over the world. Fortunately, urban farming contributes to greater food security.
The importance and need for urban farming will only grow in the coming years as transportation costs and distances continue to grow. With the corresponding increase in the production age, the quality of the food will be continuously reduced. Essential for urban agriculture to be successful in India is freeing up land that can be used for farming.
Apart from food production, urban agriculture is also a job and income generator and enables food security and food security for its producers as well as consumers. In addition, consumers regularly receive fresh and quality produce, usually perishable fruits and vegetables. Since the product does not require long distance transportation, it is also energy saving.
School of Agriculture
SAGE University Bhopal