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Agriculture has been traditionally seen as a rural occupation. This very mentality will have to change first as food security issues begin to grip urban regions. Urban centers should strive to become food producers rather confining themselves as mere consumers
FREMONT, CA: The 21st century has been earmarked as the century for urbanization. In 2008, for the first time, the world's urban population overtook the world's rural community. With urbanization in progress, food demand will be mainly from the people living in cities. This may not seem like a problem, unless, there are very few rural farmers producing this food on less land, with minimal facilities including water. At the same time, poverty will also see a shift from rural to urban areas. Without a doubt, metropolitan cities will have to play a significant role in food security in the future. This will require multiple supportive enablers such as new farming approaches and technologies, fresh thinking and policies by policymakers, politicians, and consumers willing to accept new food types and unconventional ways of food production.
Agriculture has been traditionally seen as a rural occupation. This very mentality will have to change first as food security issues begin to grip urban regions. Urban centers should strive to become food producers and not just remain food consumers. Not only will this help tackle food shortages, but it also helps urban cities become self-sufficient in producing some of the vital food products required for consumption. It is estimated that urban regions currently account for 5-20 percent of the world's food requirements.
One of the most striking features of the urban and peri-urban centers is that it is integrated into the urban economic and ecological system. As a result, urban agriculture is also embedded in the urban ecosystem and its resources. This includes the use of urban residents as labors and the use of typical urban resources such as organic waste as compost and urban wastewater for irrigation, direct links with urban consumers, direct impacts on urban ecology, competing for land with other urban functions, being influenced by urban policies and plans, and many more in the list.
Urban agriculture today involves over 800 million people and caters to the food needs of urban residents. Most of these people are from the developing countries of Asia and Africa. Urban agriculture practices include a wide range of activities ranging from relatively low-tech community gardens and small farms using conventional techniques, to highly sophisticated plant factories with enclosed environments and artificial light and bioreactors producing cell masses. These practices can also contribute to the rehabilitation of communities suffering from economic dislocation, and provide an alternative use of the consequential abandoned land.