A rising global population combined with climate change and pressure on vital resources threaten global food security (GFS). It is estimated that nearly 80% of the global population will be living in an urban environment by 2050. Significantly, and importantly, we are also going through a period of uncertainty with respect to our global climate and extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and severe. As a result of such economic, environmental and social turbulence there is an urgent need to identify and develop alternative, complementary and innovative approaches to increase local & sustainable food production. It has been identified that urban farming, will contribute to sustainable food security solutions in city environments.
Urban agriculture (UA) is a promising agricultural practice using innovative technologies (e.g. advanced greenhouses, aeroponics/hydroponics, light emitting diodes) with automated multi-tier growing systems to produce high value, safe and fresh foods (e.g. vegetables) all year-round under fully optimised environmental control. It will bring a much more environmentally-friendly and cost effective way of providing fresh food for urban areas. Urban Agriculture as a self-sustaining method of food production will also bring the following possible benefits:
- Opportunity to develop a new economy to build and service urban farms.
- Job creation in growing urban environment.
- Reduced transportation costs and pollution.
- Opportunity to develop technologies, increase food production and overall energy efficiency.
- Reduce the amount of food waste.
- Major reduction in nutrient and water usage by the use of an enclosed system.
- Good quality products (e.g. organic food) with high nutritional value can be produced in a constant and sustainable fashion.
- Allows restoration of damaged ecosystems.