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Urban Farming

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Gena Lenti

on 13 November 2013

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Transcript of Urban Farming

less manual labor than conventional farming, but still needs a lot of time, effort, and money
Possible Solutions
Why Urban Gardening?
An overview
Help enhance communities by boosting the local economy, encouraging community involvement, and allowing access of fresh food in food deserts
Lack of support from local governments is often an obstacle because governments do not see urban farming as the most profitable or valuable use of the city space

Urban Agriculture
Rooftop Gardens
Indoor Farming:
Current Use
combats heat island effect
improves air quality
soaks up storm water runoff
improves fire resistance
insulates building to lower utility costs
Urban-produced food accounts for 15% of the world's food production, according to the United Nations Development Program (Kaufman)
Urban farming is most common in cities of developing nations, because the transportation of food from rural areas tends to be unreliable
There is a lack of funding for projects since many initiatives are begun by non-profit organizations
Urban soil is often contaminated by hazardous materials, such as heavy metals, which is difficult to get rid of and may pose a danger to human health
Many supplies would need to be transported into a city to create a sustainable urban garden
Vandalism and related activities can lead to food and resources being wasted
Issues with governments often center around land use
Urban farming land is frequently in the hands of
private landowners or public agencies
that view such land usage as temporary
Organizations managing projects have
difficulty in securing tenure
over property not owned outright
Land is stripped from users when more
options become available
Urban farming is usually embraced by governments in theory, but not in practice....

In 2006, "in South Central Los Angeles, farmers were summarily evicted from South Central Farm, one of the largest urban farms in the U.S.A., following the city government’s sale of the land for private gain. There were protests, arrests, and the farm was bulldozed, only to remain vacant to this day. Hundreds of families lost part of their food source and livelihood this way.....A mere list of these kinds of urban struggles could fill many volumes. This all sits in quite contrast with the accolades showered on urban farming." -Saed
The area of developed land in the United States increased by more than
between 1982 and 2003 (White, 2009)
As of 2010, about

of the U.S. population lived in urban areas (United States Census Bureau)
Urban agriculture
practices include
raising livestock or aquaculture in backyards/ public areas
growing vegetables or other crops on rooftops, in backyards, on institutional grounds, or on vacant lots (Smit, 1992).
By the middle of the 21st century, the global urban population will almost
, increasing from approximately 3.4 billion in 2009 to 6.4 billion in 2050. (World Health Organization)
growing plants with nutrient-rich water instead of soil
Especially helpful in dry regions because they only use 1/10 of the water used in conventional farming
Urban farms
are the most common form of urban agriculture, but some unique approaches include
gardening and

working within the city minimizes transportation costs
Currently, the average food miles for a given grocery store item 1,500 miles
Food system (production, processing, and transportation) accounts for
16% of total US energy consumption
Transportation alone accounts for
of energy used within the food system
Local food sources can provide food security in the midst of climate change
For example....
In 2000, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's Community Food Projects program
received only $2.5 million out of the $120 million allocated to USDA’s Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems
A University of California study found that 25 out of the 27 projects they studied utilized grant funding
So.... urban agriculture managers must expend
amounts of time and energy in finding grant sources and submitting proposals (Kaufman)
Heavy metals can enter a person's system through soil
or by
eating food
produced on contaminated soils.
Can be stored for long periods of time, and then suddenly released as a result of
in pH and other changes in environmental conditions.
monitoring beyond reach of most people's resources
Can have serious health effects such as
neurological impairment
Urban soil tends to either be
(or simply nonexistent)
soil along with other tools into the city
plants, water supplies, and planting tools, fertilizer
This process would have to be repeated each time a soil becomes
or overused
Polluted soils must be sealed and hauled away
generally more sustainable because there is less of a need for large-scale farming machinery (lower fossil fuel inputs)
Farmed Here (Bedford Park, IL)
Cuba, in 1994 experienced a crisis so therefore they had to change their way of life and adopt the ways of urban agriculture
(Pirog, VanPelt, Enshayan, & Cook, 2001).
less distance transported, lower carbon footprint, lower contribution to climate change and also reduces pollution.
Some urban by-products, such as waste water and organic solid waste can be recycled and transformed into resources or opportunities for growing agricultural products
Is urban agriculture a viable solution to global warming?
There are ways to work around contaminated soil
instead of replacing the soil, which is very labor intensive, raised beds can be built
8-12 inches of soil above the contaminated soil is enough for vegetables to grow
certain plants are excellent at extracting metals from soil, such as lead (EPA, 2013)
The same study found that, on average,
only between one quarter to one-third
of total project expenses were earned back through market sales.... (Kaufman)
• In Kenya and Tanzania, two out of three urban families are engaged in farming
• Large Chinese cities produce 90 percent and more of their vegetable requirement within their urban regions
• Urban farmers account for 25% of farming households in Japan
• Japanese urban agriculture is more productive than its rural counterparts
• Tokyo, one of the largest and most congested cities in the world, among the intricate networks of railways, roads, buildings and power wires, local agriculture produces enough vegetables to potentially feed almost 700,000 city dwellers

(Collins, 2011)
("Climate Change," 2013)
(Cockrall-King, 2012)
DUG (DePaul Urban Garden) is currently growing vegetables in raised beds on top of gravel and concrete
Current Success
In Tokyo,
20% of all new building costs
must go toward building vegetation
Five gardens built on roof of Rockafeller Center in New York City from 1933 to 1936 still exist
New York City scientists estimate that
over $1 billion in energy costs could be saved
over the span of 35 years if more buildings convert to green roofs (Alan Yu 2012)
Chicago tops list of U.S cities with green roofs (Alan Yu 2012)
Some public and alternative schools in Chicago as well as DePaul University use community and rooftop gardens in their science courses.
(McDonald & Girvetz, 2013)
Rosset et al., Surviving Crisis in Cuba : The Second Agrarian Reform and Sustainable Agriculture, (p.226), Available at: http://www.foodfirst.org/files/bookstore/pdf/promisedland/12.pdf
Andy Fisher, The Exceptional Nature of Cuban Urban Agriculture, (2010)
not all plants can grow hydroponically
nation's largest indoor vertical farm (90,000 sq. ft.)
aquaponic system
USDA certified organic farming
local distribution
difficult to comply with proper building codes and permits
can cause fires if not built properly
plant adaptability
A 21,000 square foot rooftop garden cost
$464,000 to install
but had a projected
overall savings of $200,000 in energy costs.
Indoor growing protects plants from outdoor elements that could reduce crop yields
cities have vacant buildings
Drought in the western U.S.-proposed solutions for irrigation to these areas
1/10 of world food production is lost for every rise of 1 degree Celsius in average global temperature
More droughts, wildfires, hurricanes, and less water in streams, in recent years
Depaul's rooftop garden is located atop McGowan South, while McGowan North and South both have greenhouses. DePaul students have a community garden at Belden and Bissel Ave.
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