How urban farming can increase food insecurity

The first project of the Organization will be to use urban farming as a vector for social, economic, and environmental growth. Urban farms today have the dual potential to address food insecurity and climate change.

Today, cities occupy 3% of the Earth and are estimated to account for 75% of the world’s energy consumption and global carbon emissions.

By the year 2050, the global population is projected to reach 9-10 billion, with around 68 residing in urban areas. This urbanization trend will result in a substantial increase in food production requirements, estimated to be between 70% and 100%. Unfortunately, the growing demand for food has been a major contributor to biodiversity loss. Moreover, industrial agriculture alone is responsible for roughly one-quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, underscoring the urgency to transition to more accountable and sustainable farming practices. One promising approach to address these challenges is urban agriculture, which involves cultivating food within city limits. Urban agriculture offers numerous social, economic, and environmental benefits. It enables the shift towards a low-carbon economy by reducing the need for long-distance transportation through its proximity to consumers.

Adopting an urban strategy incorporating urban green spaces can enhance climate change resilience. This approach complements efforts to improve urban environmental management by effectively reusing organic waste in the circular economy.

To tackle food insecurity in Africa, the IMPACT Organization is dedicated to establishing various urban farms in Ivory Coast. Urban agriculture, as defined, refers to an industry situated within or on the outskirts of towns, cities, or metropolises that encompasses the cultivation, processing, and distribution of diverse food and non-food products

Urban agriculture can be seen to complement rural and industrial agriculture which results in a stronger national food system. Urban farming has a social, ecological, and economic impact:

Social impacts
Urban agriculture has the potential to foster social development and strengthen community cohesion through the creation of shared learning experiences. Research has indicated that engaging in urban agriculture cultivates social capital and enhances interpersonal relationships within communities. Moreover, studies have shown that children who actively participate in community gardening are more inclined to consume greater quantities of vegetables. SOURCES

Ecological impacts
In 2011, storage, refrigeration, and transportation accounted for 40% of global food loss and waste, with developing countries experiencing higher losses compared to developed countries. However, urban agriculture offers a promising solution by reducing the distance food travels and the energy required for long supply chains. Additionally, urban agriculture contributes to the provision of urban green spaces. Implementing green roofs, for instance, can effectively manage stormwater runoff in a sustainable manner. This approach also has the potential to lower the costs associated with developing new infrastructure and encourage the revitalization of vacant urban areas in city
centers. Moreover, studies have shown that exposing children to nature through these green spaces can enhance their appreciation for the environment and increase their willingness to engage in conservation efforts.

Economic impact
Urban agriculture has the potential to serve as an income generator for individuals and communities. When people buy food locally, it directly contributes to boosting the local economy. In the context of the Ivory Coast, urban agriculture has shown significant economic benefits in terms of enhancing food security and generating income through the sale of surplus produce. This surplus income can then be allocated to other areas of need or investment. Moreover, urban agriculture plays a crucial role in improving food security for local populations. It provides an opportunity for individuals to secure a primary or supplemental income while ensuring a reliable and accessible food supply. This aspect is particularly notable in many African cities where income from urban agriculture tends to be substantial. In addition, urban agriculture addresses transportation challenges by cultivating food closer to urban areas. This proximity reduces the need for extensive transport from rural regions to cities, positively impacting the environment and decreasing carbon emissions associated with long-distance transportation.

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