Urban farming could provide 10% of our crops

New research estimates that 100-180 million tonnes of food could be grown each year in urban areas. This could make up 10% of the global output of legumes, root, tubers and vegetable crops.

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A global analysis published in the journal Earth’s Future estimates the reach and value of urban agriculture.

As well as increasing food production there would also be benefits worth $160 billion annually, including energy savings through insulation of rooftops, climate regulation, pollination, fixing nitrogen and controlling pests.

In an interview for an article in CityLab Matei Georgescu, co-author of the study, said that their work means that people across the world can use the data. “Somebody, maybe in Romania, say, could just plug their values in and that will produce local estimates” Georgescu thinks this will encourage cities to expand their urban farming.


Sustain has run a number of programmes to encourage urban food growing, including Capital Growth in London, and the Big Dig nationally. 


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Capital Growth: The Capital Growth campaign, run by Sustain's London Food Link offers practical and financial support to communities around London to help more people grow more food, and to have greater access to land and growing spaces for community benefit. The Capital Bee project, part of Capital Growth, seeks pledges to promote bee-friendly behaviour, and supports establishment of community beehives.


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Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.