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The Necessity of Urban Agriculture

A traffic accident occurred on a motorway which connects Germany and France. Tomatoes fell out of the two trucks that had crashed into each other. The two vehicles were trucks that import and export tomatoes between France and Germany.

This map shows the trade volume of agricultural products in the world. It shows that a huge quantity of co2 is being pumped up into the atmosphere when our food is delivered from far away.

According to a survey in California, US, many children think that vegetables are grown from the supermarket.

These examples indicate that the global agricultural scene is reaching a crisis. Since the Industrial Revolution, land has developed into spaces for housing and industrial environments. Due to development of secondary and tertiary industry, agriculture has become a field for farmers to earn their bread and butter. Only a few giant companies are producing food products for the entire globe and small trade businesses are rather causing environmental pollution. The indifference in agriculture is accelerating the agricultural crisis.

However agriculture can not be seen from an industrial perspective. It is not a matter of competitiveness or marketability. The aim is to convey a proper understanding of agriculture and making people want to participate in agricultural activities. Rather than technical skills or price competition, making people participate in urban agriculture is a much important factor. The young generation does not have much experience in agriculture. Farm life experiencing events are not enough to make people realise the importance of agriculture. It can rather lead into misunderstanding.

But some think that urban agriculture might have negative effects on rural agriculture. Due to limitations such as farm-scale of urban agriculture, role-sharing with rural agriculture may be a solution to resolving the food crisis. It may also result in increasing domestic agricultural products. Food production is an important factor of urban agriculture. According to a report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), a third of the food consumed by city population is produced in the city.

The UK came up with the allotment system which allowed farmers to take advantage of crop rotation.

Cuba was in food crisis due to the US economic blockade in 1990. They overcame the situation by strengthening urban agriculture. Over 80% of agricultural products in Havana are grown in gardens in the city. There are many benefits of urban agriculture including preservation of green belts and leisure activities. In Germany, people cultivate crops in public lands around the city which creates a better quality of urban life, known as “Kleingarten”. Japan has introduced the allotment system in the late 1960s due to weakened agriculture. Yokohama rapidly adapted the allotment system in 1965 due to new town development.

Nowadays, more people have less to do with agriculture. But when there is a crisis, there are always opportunities. If there are opportunities for people to experience farming, it will enhance their understanding of agriculture. The solution to the crisis of agriculture may not be from farms but from urban agriculture.