Agriculture in cities is becoming more common in response to achieving food self-sufficiency. Data suggests that 15 to 20 percent of the global food is already produced in cities.
A recent study found that cucumbers, tubers, lettuces, and other crops that are grown in urban settings yield two to four times higher than their conventionally grown counterparts.
The scope of the study includes urban agriculture for both green and gray spaces. Green spaces are urban areas dedicated to growing plants, including private and community gardens or parks. Gray spaces, on the other hand, are places that could be potential areas for planting. Gray spaces can be rooftops, walls, or building facades.
There are remarkable differences in crop sustainability, particularly among gray spaces. Small crops like lettuce, kale, and broccoli are preferably grown indoors in a vertical set-up since these plants can be stacked in multiple layers. Unlike fruit trees that require larger areas cannot be stacked vertically.
Urban crops grown in a controlled environment make year-round cropping possible. Vegetables and leafy greens in a hydroponics system with a controlled environment can be harvested multiple times. Because of this, urban farming leads to higher annual yield in comparison with conventional field farming.
The study is an eye-opener to look deeper into the potential of urban farming for achieving food self-sufficiency. Stakeholders and policymakers still need extensive data on environmental costs and the impact on pollution to support the development and establishment of urban farming facilities fully.