Urban Farming or Urban Agriculture is much of a type of practice rather than a process. In general terms, urban agriculture refers to the production of food crops and animal products by a local community for the local consumption or inside an urban environment.
Within food crops, stress is clearly on the more perishable and comparatively high-valued vegetables, products, and by-products of the animal.
Urban farms act as a direct link between the farmer and the consumer.
The main feature of urban farming, which differentiates it from rural agriculture is its integration into the urban economic and environmental system.
Examples of Urban Farming:
Aquaculture and Hydroponic Farms,
Urban Greenhouse Farms,
Market Farms, etc.
Families since generations growing crops in the urban and sub-urban areas with local resources are also the example of urban farms.
The social, cultural, economic, physical, and political conditions of the urban environment vary, so as the types and practices of urban farming.
Urban Farming is much different from rural agriculture. Urban Farming demands action, coordination, and dedication from individuals and community groups.
For an urban farming project to have a lasting impact, the reflection of a community's cultural values is essential. Urban farms are ecologically more sustainable in providing food than rural farms.
Urban Farming Benefits:
The benefits vary with the kind of urban farming: institutional, educational, individual consumption, or local consumption.
The benefits of urban farming are the development of a local food system, aiding to food security, strengthening social integration, and the development of urban diversity and the health of the environment.
1. Talent Building, Education, and Job Training Benefits
Urban Farm is a way of skill development for those who are interested in the field of agriculture but didn't have access to rural areas or living too far from a village.
Urban Farms offer different opportunities to gain expertise and knowledge in the context of the food system. It includes vast sub-sectors like horticulture, aquaculture, animal husbandry, hydroponic industry, etc.
Students of agriculture can have internship opportunities in urban farms, which encourages engagement, social development, and responsibilities. It requires a lot of skills to operate an urban farm, skills like team management, data analysis, data management, leadership, customer management that can be learned only by working on the urban farm.
2. Food Accessibility, Health, and Nutrition Benefits
With the increasing population in urban areas, the problem of nutritious food accessibility intensifies. People are eating more amount of processed food in cities than before, which constitutes health-related problems.
Urban farming can be a solution to these problems. Urban farms can give affordable access to farm-fresh vegetables and fruits, especially in the suburbs having few grocery stores and supermarkets. It lessens their consumption of processed food.
When the produce reaches from far away farms, the amount of nutrient deterioration is high as it damages the harvest. Urban farms are within reach of consumers and produce grown there is fresher when it arrives at your nearby store.
3. Economic and Environmental Benefits
Urban Farming creates entrepreneurial opportunities for young and aspiring minds. They can earn while contributing to the betterment of society. Urban Farms creates a local economy by creating jobs, income generation, and the growth of related businesses.
Related businesses to urban farming are processing and distribution businesses. Urban Farms generates revenue by its produce and contribute to the development of the region.
Apart from the economic point of view, urban farms are also beneficial for the local environment. It increases the urban green areas by open terrace farming or by backyard farming. An urban Farming practice connects people with the environment and encourages the community to protect it.
Urban farming helps increase the biodiversity of the urban environment, many species of insects and pollinators may get protection because of these urban farms.
4. Cultural and Social Benefits
Urban Farms sometimes utilized as community gathering spaces, events like urban farming workshops, food events, educational tours of the farm, etc. These events create a sense of social and environmental bond.
Urban farming offers an opportunity for people of different ages to meet and interact, which leads to the social development of the society. When interns work on an urban farm, they learn to get involved in their community by the different project which builds more strong relations in the local community.
Urban Farm of a city express the cultural heritage of the place and maintains it by the collective action of the farming community. When there is a collective purpose, it helps to create a sense of belonging and enhances the quality of life.
Urban farming in India is now becoming popular because of its benefits and character. People are much more motivated to eat fresh and nutritious food that is why they are moving to urban farms for their daily needs.
To deal with the increasing demand for fresh and healthy produce, more hydroponic and organic farms are being set up in the last few years, generating high revenue and growing day by day.