There are many factors that have thus far affected the practice of Urban Agriculture. One of such factors is the lackadaisical attitude of urban planners towards incorporating urban agriculture in their plan. Urban planners engage in land management, physical planning, land use policy/plans, public consultation, zoning, and municipal land development. However, studies show that most planning literatures ignore food issues completely.
Also, leaching of solid and liquid animal wastes into groundwater and waterways could also discourage Urban Agriculture. This will pollute water sources in the urban areas thereby adding to the already prevalent pollutants in urban areas.
Furthermore, Urban Agriculture could have negative health implications such as bronchial infections from pesticides, contracting of diseases from animals, vegetables may be contaminated by heavy metals and the list goes on. This is an unfortunate discouragement for any interest in Urban Agriculture.
Urban Agriculture has the potential of having negative effects on the environment. These negative effects include Erosion, Noise and odour from animals, Heavy-metal/toxic substance bioaccumulation within plants and a host of others. These, and more, could make urban agriculture potentially unattractive or unwanted within the city.
Going forward, how can we incorporate Urban Agriculture in our society in the 21st century?
In the majority of countries and urban areas worldwide, agriculture is being re-localized. This was first recognized by the FEN research during the energy crises of 1970s and 1980s. Since 2009, with a much greater food-energy-climate crisis, urban agriculture is spreading at a much faster rate and on a larger scale than ever before.
It is difficult to create one comprehensive solution to the integration of Urban Agriculture (UA) in the urban environment. Nonetheless, it beneficial to examine what might have worked in cities where UA is legitimized around the world.
Multi-stakeholder processes have been recognised as an important element of policy design, action planning and implementation. They help to develop policies and programs that meet the needs of the city and those who live within it.
In the development of Urban Agricultural systems, it is important to define the complex interactions between different urban systems and to involve all interested stakeholders in a participatory process of consultation.
It is also important to bridge knowledge gaps through targeted education, demonstration and participation. There must be sufficient information, education and enlightenment on the pros and cons of Urban Agriculture in the 21st Century such that the general public can make informed decisions.
Finally and most importantly, individuals should get past wistful dreaming and take up the challenge of providing fresh, local, healthy produce grown with zero pesticides, 90% less water than traditional field farming and incorporating the highest levels of technology and science-based practices and yet make profit.
ThistlePraxis Consulting Ltd