Urban Farming

Urban Farming: The Future of Farming

What is Urban Farming 

Urban farming, in simple terms, is the integration of farming in cities and industrial areas. The discussions and implementation of urban farming in developing countries like South Africa are of paramount importance around environmental and spatial planning topics amongst decision-makers. Due to the required space, large-scale farming has normally been in rural or agricultural areas. However, with technology, development and science, it has now become a common phenomenon for large-scale farming in cities using less space and, in other instances, minimal soil.


The Relevance of Urban Farming 

In an article by Elizelle et al (Reflecting on the Potential and Limitations of Urban Agriculture as an Urban Greening Tool in South Africa), there has been a growth in studies which reflect on the multi-functional roles of urban farming as there is also increased stress on our food systems due to population growth. The Integration of  Urban farming into urban spaces creates employment and opportunities for new developments and, in its way, can be said to be evolving farming. The world constantly needs more space with the population increasing and the vast usage of space by other industries. Thus, this new form of farming is a breakthrough solution to limits on food production and the creation of economic opportunities.


How is Urban Farming Implemented 

Legislative measures such as the National Environmental Management Act and the Spacial Land  Use Management  Act, along with other policy documents, have been put in place to regulate and support the integration of urban farming. Urban farming relies heavily on the effective use of space thus, space which was previously unoccupied can be used for different purposes, be it storing equipment or plants. Furthermore, urban farming is also very much controllable as you can control the temperature and water that goes into your plants, particularly indoor urban farming.


What does the future hold

As mentioned above, the development brought about by urban farming are technologies, new farming methods, economic opportunities and the effective use of space.

Urban farming in future anticipates technological advancements for efficient and effective farming. The economic benefits increase is also inevitable as more than 67% of South Africans reside in urban areas, a figure which is estimated to grow to 80%  by 2050. Urban  Farming will also be more accessible in family structures so that they may grow their plants and have sustainable reliable healthy options. In addition, an increase in the legislation and legalization of urban farming methods is also brewing. The main drivers are the communities aiming to build a more resilient and self-sufficient nation. 

Sithandwa Mkhize


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