Global Food Security Through Support for Urban Agriculture

One of the most important thing the US can do to improve Global Health over the next 15years is to improve Global Food Security through support for Urban Agriculture. Studies have shown that over the next few years, cities all over the world will become increasingly populated. This increase in population will require additional food sources as well as employment. I believe that urban agriculture is a way to help feed people and provide an alternative form of community economic development. The amount of food produced in urban areas has steadily increased, but support for urban agriculture has not always been consistent. Providing support for urban agriculture means thinking about food production in innovative ways as well as supporting policy and agency that contribute to these types of efforts.

GtC was started about 9 years ago. While this program is made possible through generous donations, grants, and institutional support, there still exists many obstacles in amplifying these efforts. Currently agriculture is still seen as a rural activity; therefore most city land is not zoned for agricultural use. This makes the availability of urban growing space, scarce and often unstable. Many urban growers operate “under the radar”. There isn’t any cohesion or organization among them that would enable them to successfully advocate for beneficial policies, subsidies, or legislation that is presently in place for rural growers. Urban growers aren’t able to collectively bargain for resources in the same way as rural growers. And at this time, there isn’t any official system for tracking the amount of food that is being produced in the cities; data which could also contribute to the argument in favor of urban growers. Support for urban agriculture would also entail ensuring access to safe water for crop irrigation. Without this type of support from public governmental entities, urban agriculture will remain on the fringe.
Enabling communities to produce food at a local level even on a small scale would have a global effect. By strengthening the local food system, we not only create healthier communities, we contribute to the alleviation of poverty, as local communities world-wide are allowed to contribute to their local economy. Growing more food where people are, means decreasing the use of fossil fuels to transport food over long distances. By providing the means for urban growers to gain access to resources like credit and agricultural extension services, they are able to better compete and sustain their markets. Urban Agriculture also contributes to stronger social ties within a community, due to the collective nature of small-scale agrarian work and distribution. It creates community empowerment, and allows people to connect to each other on numerous levels that contribute to mental health as well as physical health.

In 2008 the MacArthur Foundation awarded Will Allen, an urban grower in Milwaukie, Wisconsin with the MacArthur Genius grant. Will Allen’s work is leading the way not only in urban agriculture production but in developing inventive methods and appropriate technologies to increase urban food production. His organization highlights the marriage of endless creativity and sustainability. If the US is to improve global health over the next 15 years, the most important task will be to help provide the most basic of human needs, through the most revolutionary means.

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One Response to Global Food Security Through Support for Urban Agriculture

  1. hydroponics says:

    Thanks for sharing this post.I know that it can really help a lot of readers.

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