As its name suggests, urban agriculture is a type of agriculture that takes place in cities, rather than in rural areas. In this article, we will explain this phenomenon, which is more and more popular, both with adults and young people!
The different types of urban agriculture
When we talk about urban agriculture, we are talking about:
- Community gardens (market gardens)
- Vegetable gardens in the backyards of houses or residential buildings
- Green alleys
- Hydroponic gardens (without soil) in schools
- Garden on the roofs of condos or restaurants (also called green roofs)
- Vertical agriculture (on towers)
- Small-scale agriculture (chickens, goats, rabbits, ducks)
- Urban farms (in eco-districts)
- Fruit trees (on residential lots) or apple orchards in the heart of an eco-district
- Greening of public spaces
This type of agriculture can be private, community-based or commercial.
What’s good in urban agriculture?
- Social and community relationships: A study conducted in 2021 confirms that the desire to socialize and create relationships in the community is the primary reason why people participate in urban agriculture. Community gardens are places to meet and talk that unite neighbours in the same area and form tightly woven communities. What’s more, budding gardeners like to share their harvest with their family, friends and neighbours, which also strengthens social ties.
- Awareness: The same study indicates that “urban agriculture is a social movement that raises awareness of the environment, the cycle of life, food resources and sustainable practices.” Gardening helps you to understand the production process and become aware of the time and resources needed for this production. This “awareness” aspect was particularly important during the pandemic, which made people aware of the vulnerability of our food system and the relevance of sourcing locally.
- Hobbies: People like to plant their seeds and plants and then see vegetables, herbs and fruits grow. It is a ritual that brings us closer to Mother Nature while stimulating all our senses!
- Education: School hydroponic gardens create hands-on learning environments in which students and staff can thrive.
The benefits of urban agriculture
Urban agriculture has many advantages:
- Community building and sharing: In urban gardens, people meet, thereby creating neighbourhood ties and friendships, which strengthens the community. These spaces for socialization and integration, where people grow things together, improve the well-being of individuals and communities.
Beyond the food that is harvested, people’s souls are nourished. “It brings a certain peace that is difficult to find in urban environments,” said a collective garden coordinator in the 2021 study mentioned above. She also mentions that social cohesion and integration are the reasons that these collective projects exist. According to her, companies which only consider the financial aspect of production are not aligned with the sharing and educational values of collective gardens.
After all, what could be better than sharing the joys of the harvest!
- Ecological benefits: Green spaces reduce pollution and heat islands, absorb rain water and support a certain biodiversity, keep pollinating insects alive, and provide compost made out of recycled organic material.
- Esthetic value: Community gardens beautify municipalities and revitalize cities. Some even create colourful gardening beds filled with edible produce (cabbage, herbs, lettuce, leeks, etc.).
- Wellness activity: Growing a garden is an activity that allows you to relax, commune with nature, discover crop characteristics and breathe fresh air! School gardens allow young people to be close to natural elements, which calms them and positively effects their mood, concentration, productivity and more.
- Raises environmental awareness: By cultivating the land and harvesting the fruits of your efforts, you realize the value of nature and the importance of protecting it. What’s more, gardening close to home allows you to reduce CO2 emissions due to the transportation of produce.
- Education: By taking the time to simply observe nature, to listen to it, and immersing yourself in it, you learn to appreciate moments of silence and contemplation, and become aware of the beauty and fascinating complexity of living things. Nature has much to teach us.
- Fresh organic food: Growing a garden in the city gives you the possibility of growing your own fresh produce through your own efforts and then share the fruit of our labour. It is a very pleasant, fruitful hobby!
Urban agriculture in my school
Would you like your students to enjoy the daily benefits of growing things? Integrate a garden in your school, and make it an educational project that lasts the whole school year!
Write us to learn more about your options.
What’s more, students will be able to access a digital platform with intuitive features that will allow you to maximize the impacts on your class and even school! Contact a Vireo representative for more information! We will be happy to answer all of your questions.