At this time, nearly 1 billion people worldwide suffer from food shortages. Add the fact that the global population will explode in the next decades, from 7 to 9 billion. To feed all these people drastic measures are needed. That may seem like an impossible task, but smart innovations lead the way. This week: three inspiring examples of urban farming.
What exactly is a sustainable food supply? That means a lot more than enough food for everyone. Food should also be affordable, while production and distribution do not burden the environment disproportionately. To achieve that a broad range of support is required. For example: the reduction of chemicals in pesticides, combating deforestation, reducing food waste and changing our eating habits. Last week we focused on strengthening local food systems. That was all about the developing countries, but this also applies to the rest of the world. Meet some special forms of urban farming.
In the shadow of the Berlin Wall between flats and metro stops, the 'Prinzessinnengarten' was created. A green oasis where a variety of vegetables are cultivated. Primarily grown for consumption, but there is also an educational goal: visitors are welcome to help and learn something in the process. In case zoning might become a problem: all plants are in mobile bins. If necessary, the Prinzessinnengarten can move as a whole!
In the Japanese capital, the Pasona Group is located. This company specializes in Human Resource Management, but above all is known for its relationship with nature. In the offices fruit and vegetables – literally – have all the space the need. The idea: the green environment helps employees to feel comfortable and relaxed, resulting in a better working environment. The harvest is of course used in the staff restaurant.
A former brewery in St. Paul in the United States of America was given a whole new purpose: growing different kinds of vegetables. Urban Organics has specialised in aquaponics there. Snails, fish and shellfish are cultured on a large scale. Plants that grow in the same bin use their droppings. It is an efficient and sustainable system where natural processes have the space they need. An interesting detail: aquaphonics requires only 2% of the water used in conventional agriculture.
The above initiatives are special but not unique: all over the world initiatives are popping up, which in their own way contribute to a more sustainable food supply. Sometimes on a large industrial scale, but that is absolutely not a requirement: anyone can contribute. We all need to eat. And as consumers we all exert some influence on the system. So watch what you buy. If possible, opt for local products, preferably the unprocessed kind. That is not only very tasty, but also healthy for yourself and your environment. A win-win situation.
Learn more about urban farming? The Guardian presents even more inspiring examples.
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