Urban Farming: Why it gets our tick of approval
In the year between 2016 and 2017, Australian household food consumption expenditure increased from $49 billion to $92 billion – an increase of around 2.3%. During that time the population increased by only 1.4% showing just how much more we are not only eating, but spending on food. With the Australian population on track to reach 37.6 million people by 2050, there will be a LOT more mouths to feed. So, can we manage food consumption and expenditure sustainably when we’re faced with this growth? We consider options like urban farming as a solution.
Urban Farming is the practice of agricultural farming in high-density urban areas. Think community gardens, rooftop gardens and vertical gardens along buildings – but with food producing plants, harvested and distributed locally. There is a lot behind the benefits of this type of agriculture that have the potential to not only increase available supply of fresh produce as we experience population growth, but to also prioritise sustainable, organic and local food consumption.
It’s good quality
Urban farming provides growers to grow and look after unique varieties of produce and provide the local community with much fresher produce, due to the small time from harvest to plate. It also allows growers to choose to farm organic produce and gives locals control over the additives and chemicals used.
It is kind to the environment
By growing produce locally – inside the market region that will purchase and consume it, you reduce the very significant fossil fuel consumption needed to transport it many miles away. Urban farming can help consumers to reduce their “foodprint” by reducing carbon emissions.
It brings communities together
An urban farm can be established as a community garden, bringing people together with a common purpose. It’s healthy (fresh produce), it’s happy (giving back to those around you through volunteering), it drives social connection (collaboration and discussion) and these are key factors of a positive community.
It has the potential to create jobs
If urban farms are run as just that – farms, they can create jobs for people as growers and down the supply chain selling the produce. The beauty of this is the focus is all local, so the jobs are created within a community, giving it the power to increase its own employment rate.
It can harness the power of innovation and technology
Vertical gardens, recycled water, hydroponics and more provide high impact solutions where ground area isn’t readily available. This gives us the ability to harness the latest innovation and technology, supporting those industries within our own community.
It’s a solution to a problem that Australia will end up facing whether we like it or not. We will always need our farmers but right now they are doing their best to keep up with demand and we are still, in some cases, relying on imported produce. So, if you have a plot of land that you can lend to your local community, it’s time to get gardening.