Urban Agriculture on the Rise

A Window Farm built of recyclable materials. It was built and displayed by the Agribusiness Society (ABS) of the University of the West Indies (UWI) at its orientation week event.

In studies at the University of the West Indies, most agri-based students learn of the movement of people from rural areas to urban areas in search of employment and entertainment. We students are taught that as a direct result of this movement, rural agriculture suffers. ‘Many young persons simply do not perceive agriculture to be a worthwhile career.’ We’ve all heard this phrase before. However this trend seems to be changing worldwide.

With the ever increasing demand for food and nutrition security, health concerns are rising. These include the issue of genetically modified foods and their contamination of natural food commodities; the  negative effect that industrial agriculture has on biodiversity and the environment; and the need for sustainable agriculture among other issues.

A new trend has emerged in the global landscape. I refer to Urban Agriculture.

This is the practice of cultivating, processing and distributing food in, or around, a village, town or city. Urban agriculture in addition can also involve animal husbandry, aquaculture, agro-forestry, and horticulture. It also has the added benefit of beautifying an urban area and encouraging communication and business within small communities of larger cities.

In developing countries and poorer states, urban farming contributes most to the nutrition and health of persons living in highly populated city areas. The best example of urban agriculture in the Caribbean is the Cuban Green Revolution whereby through necessity the government and the people of Cuba worked together to turn the urban areas of the country into green, food producing and sustainable settings.

The Agribusiness Society of UWI has done its part in highlighting the benefits of urban farming by building and demonstrating techniques for the craft. I refer to the creation of our very own Window Farm, a vertical hydroponic garden for growing food in the window of  your own home and the Multi – Storey Garden which was featured twice on this blog. (See part two the Multi Storey Garden Post here!)

The light bulbs place in the set up are meant to support the plants during winter months in colder climates. However they are useless in the Caribbean and are simply placed there for the display. This is an example of appropriating urban farm technologies

Similar to many other worldwide trends, blogs and other online communities centred on Urban Agriculture have grown at breathtaking speed as people like you, me and others all over the world have taken initiative and communicate information of all sorts concerning the craft. As a result you can gather a mass amount of information on urban agriculture from the internet.

A good place to start would be here at the links below, but you should note that adaptation of these technologies will differ in the Caribbean due to our geographical location. Not every urban agriculture technique is suited for our region and vice versa. Here are some links to start you of right on your urban agriculture endeavours!

http://urbanagriculture-news.blogspot.com/ – Urban Agriculture News is a news service providing a review of daily news pertinent to the urban farming community, as well as city planners, landscape designers & urban developers that are planning & practicing alternative farming within urban environments.

http://localblu.com/blog/ – A ‘local’ movement of people from all over the United States, with a myriad of backgrounds. Together they all contribute to the operation of this blog centered on urban farming and sustainability, among other topics

Localblu.com – an urban agriculture resource.

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