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We are bringing you everything you need to know how to start Urban Farming in or around the cities.
You can start urban farming almost everywhere. It can even be in your own apartment. If you would like to know more about it, continue reading this text and you will find about it.
Few words about Urban Farming
Urban farming or agriculture or gardening can be briefly defined as the cultivation of plants and the cultivation of animals in and around cities. The most striking feature of urban agriculture, which distinguishes it from rural agriculture, is that it is integrated into the urban economic and ecological system: urban agriculture is embedded in – and interacts with – the urban ecosystem.
Such links include the use of urban residents as workers, 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, being part of the urban food system, competing for land with other urban functions, influenced by urban policies and plans, etc.
Urban farming is not a relic of the past that will fade (urban agriculture grows as the city grows) nor is it brought to the city by rural immigrants who will eventually lose their rural habits. It is an integral part of the urban system.
Do I need a lot of space?
No, you really don’t need that much space (if you want to work really small). You can get away only with your apartment, or your back garden. There are city farms as well, which could be categorized as agricultural plots in urban areas, and they use people from the city to work with animals and plants for food.
Urban farms are usually community gardens that aim to improve community relationships and offer agriculture, farming and gardening awareness to people living in urban areas. In many cities around the world urban farms is an important source of food. Urban farms are different sizes, from small farms you can easily grow in your garden, to big farms that need a lot of space. Urban farmers produce considerable quantities of food for urban consumers. The global estimate (1993 data) is that 15-20% of the world’s food is produced in urban areas
Urban agriculture largely complements rural agriculture and increases the efficiency of the national food system by providing products that rural agriculture cannot easily supply (e.g. perishable products, products requiring fast delivery after harvest), which can substitute for imports food and can free up rural lands for the export production of goods.
What is great about urban farming or gardening is that you don’t need to be a big corporation to work it. It can be your hobby, you can work only for yourself and your family, so you can have good quality food. Or, you can sell it to local kitchens, food markets, give it to shelters or many, many more things.
As people know more about food, they seek to know where and how was that food made, is it organic, is it and how it is treated after harvest, and how it moves from and is stored from one place to another. Urban farms can be the best choice for healthy food.
When we say urban farms, most people think inside the city, but that doesn’t have to be the case. It can be in the close perimeters of cities. There is no single characterization of what and where they have to be. They can be in a backyard, on rooftops, or in any area where you have free space inside or in close vicinity to the city. Every urban agricultural farm is different, just as are normal rural farms.
Benefits of Urban Farming
Growing your food saves your household expenses on food; poor people from poor countries generally spend a significant portion of their income (50-70%) on food. Growing relatively expensive vegetables saves money as well as exchanging produce. Product sales (fresh or processed) bring in cash.
In addition to the economic benefits to urban farmers, urban agriculture encourages the development of related micro-enterprises: the production of necessary agricultural inputs and the processing, packaging, and marketing of products. The activities or services provided by these companies may owe, in whole or in part, to urban agriculture. Other services may also be provided by independent families and groups (e.g., animal health services, bookkeeping, and transportation).
Transformation of food products may involve making milk yogurt or roasting plantations, chicken or eggs, etc. This can be done at the household level, sold at the farm door or a local grocery store or markets and larger units for sale in supermarkets or even for export.
Particular attention is needed to strengthen the links between different types of businesses in clusters or chains. The municipality and sectoral organizations can play a crucial role in stimulating the development of micro-enterprises related to urban agriculture.
In more developed cities, urban agriculture can be undertaken for the physical and/or psychological relaxation it provides, rather than for the production of food per se. Also, urban and suburban farms can play an important role in providing recreational opportunities to citizens (recreational routes, buying food on the farm, visiting facilities) or educational functions (bringing young people into contact with animals, teaching about ecology, etc.).
Urban agriculture and urban forestry contribute to disaster risk reduction and adaptation to climate change by reducing runoff, keeping flood plains free of construction, reducing urban temperature, capturing dust and CO2, while growing fresh food near consumers reduces energy consumption in transport by cooling, processing, and packaging, while productive reuse of urban organic waste and wastewater (and the nutrients they contain) reduces landfill methane emissions and energy use in fertilizer production.
Increasing access to credit and finance for urban farmers (with a focus on poor farmers who do not have the resources) is very necessary.
Municipalities can stimulate (eg by creating a guarantee fund) existing credit institutions to set up special credit schemes for urban producers or to allow urban producers to participate in existing credit schemes for the informal sector.
At Brasilia FD (Brazil), the PROVE program provided a non-monetary guarantee to the city’s producer associations in the form of a “Mobile Agro Industry” (truck-mounted metal frames). Because these frames are mobile and durable, they can be used as collateral for a commercial loan.
The inclusion of urban agriculture in the municipal budget is also an essential component in promoting urban agriculture activities. In many cities, the City Council allocates resources to support its urban agriculture policy and program (infrastructure development, training, marketing support, start-up kits and so on).
Excellent urban agriculture is closely linked to its contribution to the development of a sustainable and resilient city that is socially inclusive, food-safe, productive and eco-friendly.
Can I earn money from Urban farming?
According to the survey by the British Food Journal (which looked at 370 U.S. urban farmers), the average urban farm sees sales of just under $54,000 a year. Which, unfortunately for some, it is not that much. But, research also says that differences in doing urban farming are huge, so for example, the rooftop farm will earn a very small amount, while hydroponic operations will earn huge amounts, so, this amount ($54,000 a year) varies greatly.
Also, don’t forget, for many urban farmers that is only a side job, or a hobby, so it can be a pretty solid side income, and also, you get for yourself and your family healthy food.
In conclusion, I would suggest you go into urban farming only if that is something you love, or think you could love, and not because of the money, that is only a plus. Take a look at the video below for how good it may look