Key figures about urban agriculture (UA)
- 800 million people worldwide have had their food security improved through UA.
- 60% of the world’s population will live in cities by 2030.
- 15-20 % of the world’s food is produced by urban or peri-urban agriculture.
- 40% of total urban food requirements in Kampala, Uganda, are accounted for by UA.
The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) is a joint international institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU). The following article is from the Feb-Mar 2012 issue of Spore, a CTA publication.
It is worth reading to better understand how a simple gardening technique like vertical sack gardens can help solve worldwide problems of urban food supply and hunger.
Keep in mind that with the availability of modern materials available here in the U.S. these sack gardens could be even more productive and sustainable. I have several ideas waiting on product testing but at this time no location to do it.
Over and above the sack gardening idea, it is also worthwhile for Americans to know that there are organizations outside the U.S. who are arguably doing a better job of consumer education than our vaunted, but in my view over-rated USDA Extension Program. Our urban botanical gardens are no better; witness the gardens here in New York City that teach nothing but dirt and drain holes.
We desperately need new thinking and new blood in the field of urban food production. It is not likely to happen when city kids are being taught that shovels, hoes and rakes are modern instruments of urban agriculture.
The dig and “get your hands dirty” mantra of dirt-hugger educators is a dead-end message except for those who choose to live in farm country. That is an unlikely future for the overwhelming majority of young people living in the city.
Two simple technologies are helping urban dwellers to grow fresh produce in very small spaces. The result is more varied diets for families and extra income from the sale of surplus output.
With a population of one million, Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya, is one of the largest informal settlements in Africa. It is also one of the unhealthiest, with open sewers spilling raw sewage into the narrow alleyways. Now urban farming is helping to improve diets through hygienic agricultural practices in limited spaces.
The main technique used is ‘sack gardening’. Also known as vertical gardening, the simple system consists of a 90 kg sack filled with soil. Up to 50 plants can be grown in this small space, producing vegetables for sale and household consumption. Read more...