Since 2020, people have had a lot to think about. A pandemic, grief, loss of old comforts and rituals, difficulties that came with adapting, possible ways to help, and different ways to address daily questions and issues. “What can I do to get enough food on the table” is one such question. Many took up home gardening, an activity that falls under the umbrella of urban agriculture.
Food insecurity, rising prices, isolation, and questions of sustainability continue to pose challenges to communities. A recent Ask IFAS publication discusses urban agriculture as a possible community-level measure to meet these challenges.
Urban agriculture refers to the production, processing, distribution, and sale of food within urban, suburban, and peri-urban areas for commercial, noncommercial, hobby, educational, or nonprofit purposes. Urban agriculture activities include but are not limited to home gardens, beekeeping, edible landscaping, indoor and rooftop farming, and hydroponic gardens.
The publication provides an in-depth and thoughtful look at both the benefits and limitations of urban agriculture activities. Drawbacks include varying availability of fresh produce to the entire community, possible health risks due to soil contaminants and air pollution, gentrification, expenses, and difficulties with development and maintenance. Improved nutrition security, physical activity, cost savings on groceries, biodiversity, social connection, and agricultural skill development are a few of the benefits associated with urban agriculture.