Special Issue "A Systemic Perspective on Urban Food Supply: Assessing Different Types of Urban Agriculture"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Martina Artmann
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development, Dresden, Germany
Interests: urban ecology, systemic solutions for urban sustainability, urban ecosystem services, urban green infrastructure, nature-based solution, urban human-nature connection, urban agriculture, edible cities, socio-ecological systems, urban deep ecology.
Dr. Kathrin Specht
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Research Institute for Regional and Urban Development gGmbH, Germany
Interests: innovation in urban agriculture, zero-acreage farming (ZFarming), rooftop agriculture, building-integrated agriculture, perception and social acceptance of urban agriculture, consumer-producer networks, alternative food networks (AFN), urban food policies, urban food governance.
Dr. Jan Vávra
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, Czech Republic
Interests: urban agriculture, home gardening, food self-provisioning, informal food production, environmental sociology, allotment gardens, climate change mitigation, carbon footprint, ecological economics.
Mr. Marius Rommel
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute for Future-Fit Economies (ZOE), Germany
Interests: Degrowth, strong sustainability, regional resilience, community supported entrepreneurship

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Today's society is facing a range of challenges connected with urbanization such as climate change, social segregation, or resource depletion. Due to the complexity of societal challenges and urban systems, there is an increasing need to foster systemic solutions evolving multidimensional benefits for society, nature, and the economy. The production of food within cities through urban agriculture can be considered as a nature-based solution contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation, food security, biodiversity and ecosystem services, agricultural intensification, resource efficiency, urban renewal and regeneration, land management, public health, social cohesion, cultural traditions, and economic growth. Cities can be composed of a mosaic of different forms of urban agriculture depending on a spatial (e.g., roof top gardens, house gardens, and vertical farming), actor (e.g., family farm, community garden), or organizational perspective (e.g., market-, prosumer-, or subsistence-based production with different foci of production such as hobby- or education-focused production). Urban agriculture can then be technological oriented (e.g., aquaponics) or take a natural agriculture approach (e.g., permaculture). However, the current research on urban agriculture is still fragmented, and it requires a systematic and integrative assessment of different forms of urban agriculture, its impacts, and framework conditions for implementation. Therefore, to support the systemic potential of urban agriculture, four major questions arise:

1) Which benefits and risks are connected with different forms of urban agriculture?

2) Which drivers and constraints exist for implementing different forms of urban agriculture?

3) Which actors are of importance for implementing urban agriculture, and who is benefitting from urban agriculture?

3) How can urban agriculture be upscaled from a mosaic of single forms of food supply to an edible city approach taking into account various geographical, socio-economic, cultural, and demographic contexts?

This Special Issue aims to show up the current international state of the art in conceptualizing different types of urban agriculture, evaluating their different multifunctional impacts and ecosystem services, as well as developing and evaluating planning strategies for implementing urban agriculture on different scales. A main concern of this Special Issue is to reflect on urban agriculture from a systemic perspective, considering cities as socio-ecological systems and different types of urban agriculture as system elements of the urban ecosystem. All submissions are asked to clearly link their paper to one (or several) specific type(s) of urban agriculture. General papers on urban agriculture are not accepted.

Dr. Martina Artmann
Dr. Kathrin Specht
Dr. Jan Vávra
Mr. Marius Rommel
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Spatial monitoring and categorization of different forms of urban agriculture
  • Assessment of the (multidimensional) impacts (benefits and risks) and framework conditions of the implementation (drivers and constraints) of different forms of urban agriculture in terms of o Social impacts and implementation frameworks o Environmental impacts and implementation frameworks o Economic impacts and implementation frameworks o Urban ecosystem services
  • Systemic approaches and planning practices to promote sustainable urban agriculture
  • Dealing with the concept of edible cities, its conceptualization, its impacts, and its possibilities of implementation
  • Providing case studies from shrinking and growing, small and big cities
  • Providing case studies from regions with different cultural, economic, and political history, and environmental conditions.

Published Papers (16 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Introduction to the Special Issue “A Systemic Perspective on Urban Food Supply: Assessing Different Types of Urban Agriculture”
Sustainability 2021, 13(7), 3798; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13073798 - 30 Mar 2021
Viewed by 485
Abstract
The production of food within cities through urban agriculture can be considered as a nature-based solution and is argued to be an important response to the current COVID-19 pandemic as well as to climate change and other urban challenges. However, current research on [...] Read more.
The production of food within cities through urban agriculture can be considered as a nature-based solution and is argued to be an important response to the current COVID-19 pandemic as well as to climate change and other urban challenges. However, current research on urban agriculture is still fragmented, calling for a systematic and integrative assessment of different forms of urban agriculture and the drivers and constraints for their effective realization. In this context, the Special Issue presents conceptual and empirical research articles from around the world on the impact and implementation potential of various types of urban agriculture. The studies of this Special Issue cover a broad range of impact and implementation dimensions, asssessment methods and geographical backgrounds that can support future studies to develop a systemic perspective on urban food production. Full article
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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Toward an Evaluation of Cultural Ecosystem Services Delivered by Urban Micro-Farms
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 1716; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13041716 - 05 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 490
Abstract
Since two decades, urban agriculture has been booming and a wide range of forms, from urban allotment gardens to rooftop farming under greenhouse, is developing. Various benefits are recognized for urban agriculture integration within the city and a specific consideration is dedicated to [...] Read more.
Since two decades, urban agriculture has been booming and a wide range of forms, from urban allotment gardens to rooftop farming under greenhouse, is developing. Various benefits are recognized for urban agriculture integration within the city and a specific consideration is dedicated to ecosystem services. In this article, we have focused on cultural ecosystem services provided by urban micro-farms. The state of the art reveals that urban agriculture delivers cultural ecosystem services that are well perceived and evaluated by users, but there are still few studies on this topic. Based on the analysis of specific literature on cultural ecosystems and micro-farms in parallel to a period of observation and documentary research of five urban micro-farms either on rooftop or at soil level, located in Paris and its surroundings, we proposed a specific methodology. This methodology aimed at quantitative and qualitative evaluation of the cultural ecosystem services provided by urban micro-farms and is based on a framework, which distinguishes exogenous and endogenous cultural ecosystem services. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Design and Social Factors Affecting the Formation of Social Capital in Chinese Community Garden
Sustainability 2020, 12(24), 10644; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410644 - 19 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 719
Abstract
In recent years, community gardens are becoming more and more popular in China. However, the role of these community gardens varies significantly: some community gardens serve as an effective means of promoting social capital, while others cause social contradictions and public doubts due [...] Read more.
In recent years, community gardens are becoming more and more popular in China. However, the role of these community gardens varies significantly: some community gardens serve as an effective means of promoting social capital, while others cause social contradictions and public doubts due to the lack of professional design and management. Therefore, this paper aims to learn and better understand what factors affect the formation of social capital in Chinese community gardens. It screened eleven design factors and seven social factors and made social capital scale through literature review and expert workshop. On this basis, this study selected 35 community gardens in China as sample spaces, and collected 1257 questionnaires about the perception for social capital of gardeners through survey. In the statistical analysis phase, factor analysis and regression analysis were applied to analyze the role and the relative importance of different factors and social capital. Results show that the integration with green infrastructure, accessibility, size, visual openness, planting form, proportion of unproductive landscape, agricultural infrastructure, and smart infrastructure have significant impacts on social capital level. Meanwhile, the types of stakeholders, management rules, supervision system, self-management team, and operational activities have similar impacts on social capital level. This study recommends that planners and designers should adjust the above related factors in community garden design, and local government is urged to integrate community gardens into urban plans and public policies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Ecosystem Services of Urban Agriculture: Perceptions of Project Leaders, Stakeholders and the General Public
Sustainability 2020, 12(24), 10446; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410446 - 14 Dec 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 744
Abstract
Within the scholarly debate, Urban Agriculture (UA) has been widely acknowledged to provide diverse environmental and socio-cultural ecosystem services (ESs) for cities. However, the question of whether these potential benefits are also recognized as such by the involved societal groups on the ground [...] Read more.
Within the scholarly debate, Urban Agriculture (UA) has been widely acknowledged to provide diverse environmental and socio-cultural ecosystem services (ESs) for cities. However, the question of whether these potential benefits are also recognized as such by the involved societal groups on the ground has not yet been investigated. This paper aims at (1) assessing the perceived ESs of UA, comparing the views of different societal groups in the city of Bologna, Italy (namely: UA project leaders, stakeholders and the general public) and (2) to identify differences in the evaluation of specific UA types (indoor farming, high-tech greenhouses, peri-urban farms, community-supported agriculture, community rooftop garden and urban co-op). In total, 406 individuals evaluated 25 ESs via a standardized Likert-scale survey. The study unveiled similarities and divergences of perceptions among the different societal groups. The statistical analysis indicated that the general public and UA stakeholders agree on the high relevance of socio-cultural ESs, while provisioning ESs was considered as less significant. UA types focusing on social innovation were expected to provide higher socio-cultural ESs whereas peri-urban activities were more closely linked to habitat ESs. We assume that involvement and knowledge of UA are determining factors for valuing the provision of ESs through UA, which needs to be considered for ES valuation, particularly in a policymaking context. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Food Provision, Social Interaction or Relaxation: Which Drivers Are Vital to Being a Member of Community Gardens in Czech Cities?
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9588; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229588 - 17 Nov 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 566
Abstract
Urban gardening provides city dwellers with a wide range of benefits. Research dealing with the benefits of community gardens (CG) is often qualitative, focused on their founders’ motivations. The objective of our contemporary quantitative study is to understand why the inhabitants of Czech [...] Read more.
Urban gardening provides city dwellers with a wide range of benefits. Research dealing with the benefits of community gardens (CG) is often qualitative, focused on their founders’ motivations. The objective of our contemporary quantitative study is to understand why the inhabitants of Czech cities join CGs. The paper answers the research question: “What drivers exist for members’ participation in CGs?” It also deals with how the drivers of CG members differ across CGs’ locations in different urban structures. The data were obtained through an online survey from 28 CGs across Czechia, in both the capital and smaller cities. The importance of the different drivers was examined using statistical analysis and logit models. The research shows that the main motivation for the members is not crop production itself but, rather, the spending of leisure time, social contact and relaxation. Other key drivers include the passing on of experience and knowledge about nature to children, which is found mostly among the members with previous cultivation experience. Based on our results, CGs may contribute to the development of public life and to the improvement of public space; hence, the greater support by local decision makers or spatial planners can be justified. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Domestic Gardens Mitigate Risk of Exposure of Pollinators to Pesticides—An Urban-Rural Case Study Using a Red Mason Bee Species for Biomonitoring
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9427; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229427 - 12 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 733
Abstract
Domestic gardens supply pollinators with valuable habitats, but the risk of exposure to pesticides has been little investigated. Artificial nesting shelters of a red mason bee species (Osmia bicornis) were placed in two suburban gardens and two commercial fruit orchards to [...] Read more.
Domestic gardens supply pollinators with valuable habitats, but the risk of exposure to pesticides has been little investigated. Artificial nesting shelters of a red mason bee species (Osmia bicornis) were placed in two suburban gardens and two commercial fruit orchards to determine the contamination of forage sources by pesticides. Larval pollen provisions were collected from a total of 14 nests. They consisted mainly of pollen from oaks (65–100% weight/sample), Brassicaceae (≤34% w/s) and fruit trees (≤1.6% w/s). Overall, 30 pesticides were detected and each sample contained a mixture of 11–21 pesticide residues. The pesticide residues were significantly lower in garden samples than in orchard samples. The difference was attributed mainly to the abundant fungicides pyrimethanil and boscalid, which were sprayed in fruit orchards and were present on average at 1004 ppb and 648 ppb in orchard samples, respectively. The results suggested that pollinators can benefit from domestic gardens by foraging from floral sources less contaminated by pesticides than in adjacent croplands. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Systemic Design for Food Self-Sufficiency in Urban Areas
Sustainability 2020, 12(18), 7558; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187558 - 14 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1186
Abstract
This article adopts a systemic approach to address the problem of the operationalization of relationships between actors conducive to food self-sufficiency in urban areas. Through the use of Social Network Analysis (SNA), the literature on urban agriculture was analyzed, detecting eight key trends [...] Read more.
This article adopts a systemic approach to address the problem of the operationalization of relationships between actors conducive to food self-sufficiency in urban areas. Through the use of Social Network Analysis (SNA), the literature on urban agriculture was analyzed, detecting eight key trends and topic areas. This information was used to design a generic recursive organizational structure with the identification of the key roles and functions for management and governance in the multi-level and multi-stakeholder relationships of a sustainable urban self-sufficient food production system, inspired by the principles of complexity management and organizational cybernetics. Methodologically, this is the first application that combines the exploratory capability of SNA and the recursive structure of the Viable System Model (VSM) to propose applicable organizational structures in any urban area, suggesting a new route for the study and application of systemic thinking in the development of urban agriculture schemes. However, due to the conceptual nature of this work, this study opens a discussion on how we can rethink interactions to seek continuous adaptation in food self-sufficiency, provide tools that foster inclusion, and adapt to every context to support the relevant actors and academics in urban agriculture. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Formalizing Objectives and Criteria for Urban Agriculture Sustainability with a Participatory Approach
Sustainability 2020, 12(18), 7503; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187503 - 11 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 663
Abstract
The last few years have seen an exponential development of urban agriculture projects within global North countries, especially professional intra-urban farms which are professional forms of agriculture located within densely settled areas of city. Such projects aim to cope with the challenge of [...] Read more.
The last few years have seen an exponential development of urban agriculture projects within global North countries, especially professional intra-urban farms which are professional forms of agriculture located within densely settled areas of city. Such projects aim to cope with the challenge of sustainable urban development and today the sustainability of the projects is questioned. To date, no set of criteria has been designed to specifically assess the environmental, social and economic sustainability of these farms at the farm scale. Our study aims to identify sustainability objectives and criteria applicable to professional intra-urban farms. It relies on a participatory approach involving various stakeholders of the French urban agriculture sector comprising an initial focus group, online surveys and interviews. We obtained a set of six objectives related to environmental impacts, link to the city, economic and ethical meaning, food and environmental education, consumer/producer connection and socio-territorial services. In addition, 21 criteria split between agro-environmental, socio-territorial and economic dimensions were identified to reach these objectives. Overall, agro-environmental and socio-territorial criteria were assessed as more important than economic criteria, whereas food production was not mentioned. Differences were identified between urban farmers and decision makers, highlighting that decision makers were more focused on projects’ external sustainability. They also pay attention to the urban farmer agricultural background, suggesting that they rely on urban farmers to ensure the internal sustainability of the farm. Based on our results, indicators could be designed to measure the sustainability criteria identified, and to allow the sustainability assessment of intra-urban farms. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
What Constraints the Expansion of Urban Agriculture in Benin?
Sustainability 2020, 12(14), 5774; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12145774 - 17 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 943
Abstract
Propelled by rapid urbanization, city administrations in low- and middle-income countries face a raft of challenges to secure food and nutrition for its poor urban dwellers. Urban agriculture (UA) seems a viable intervention to address urban food insecurity, however, experience has shown that [...] Read more.
Propelled by rapid urbanization, city administrations in low- and middle-income countries face a raft of challenges to secure food and nutrition for its poor urban dwellers. Urban agriculture (UA) seems a viable intervention to address urban food insecurity, however, experience has shown that urban gardens do not expand at the expected rate. Tackling this issue requires a deeper understanding of the main constraints that block UA expansion. Benin is not an exception; the country witnesses a breathtaking growth of its main cities that is in synchronization with a mounting food insecurity. Our research aims, therefore, to identify the main constraints for the expansion of UA in Benin, and adopt a three-pronged approach combined with a systematic literature review, a survey held among experienced urban gardeners, and in-depth interviews with stakeholders. Altogether, the synthesis shows a predominance of five main constraints: lack of land and tenure insecurity, insufficient government support, restricted market access, limited access to productive factors, and inequality issues. Specifically, while the review showed that most barriers are linked and could be tackled together, the survey indicated a political unwillingness which in our in-depth interviews is explained by the unperceived benefits of investing in UA and the lack of enforcement of urban development plans. We suggest that Beninese authorities and academics move in synchronization where the former coordinates the planning of urban gardens and the latter provides evidence to trigger public and private investments in UA. The findings could be the basis for further research on UA in West Africa and the wider continent. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Valuing Physical and Social Output: A Rapid Assessment of a London Community Garden
Sustainability 2020, 12(13), 5452; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12135452 - 06 Jul 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1443
Abstract
The value of urban farms and gardens in terms of their potential for supplying a healthy diet to local residents is well known. However, the prime objective of these spaces often differs from one of food production with this being the means by [...] Read more.
The value of urban farms and gardens in terms of their potential for supplying a healthy diet to local residents is well known. However, the prime objective of these spaces often differs from one of food production with this being the means by which other outputs are achieved. Valuing these spaces that provide diverse benefits is therefore a complex exercise as any measure needs to incorporate their physical as well as their social outputs. Only through such an integrated approach is the true value of these gardens revealed and the scale of their potential for contributing to health agendas made apparent. Social return on investment studies can be heavily resource dependent and the rapid cost benefit approach advanced here suggests that with limited expertise and minimal invasion of volunteer and beneficiary time and space, a public value return on investment ratio can be estimated relatively rapidly using an ‘off the shelf’ tool. For the food growing area of a London community garden, a return on investment of £3 for every £1 invested is calculated. This demonstrates the contribution that community gardens can make to social wellbeing within cities and justifies a call for further recognition of these spaces in urban planning policy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of High-Tech Urban Agriculture on Cooking and Eating in Dutch Nursing Homes
Sustainability 2020, 12(13), 5379; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12135379 - 03 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 931
Abstract
Questions have arisen about the sustainability of the industrialised food system. Alternatives like urban agriculture have emerged to reduce the negative social, environmental and health impacts of industrial agriculture. Such new food supply chains can change the way that people acquire and process [...] Read more.
Questions have arisen about the sustainability of the industrialised food system. Alternatives like urban agriculture have emerged to reduce the negative social, environmental and health impacts of industrial agriculture. Such new food supply chains can change the way that people acquire and process food. This study looks at high-tech indoor gardening practices in nursing homes for elderly people, studying four nursing homes in the Dutch city of Velp. We used both qualitative and quantitative approaches to collect data, using site visits, a survey amongst employees, and semi-structured interviewees with residents and decision makers. Inspired by social practice theory, we aimed to understand the transformation of existing practices, investigating how the gardens affect cooking and eating practices, and how their constitutive elements of meaning, material and competences enable these transformations. Our work shows that the indoor gardens resulted in an integration of gardening and the resulting harvest into cooking practices, which in turn transformed residents’ eating practices. Appreciation of the taste of fresh vegetables and appearance of the meal decorated by fresh vegetables, as well as observing the growth of plants and their use, holds value for the elderly residents. Employees welcome the possibility to serve healthier meals. The integration of indoor gardens in existing cooking practices is more successful when employees have gardening and/or cooking competences, when they enjoy cooking and when they do not already cook with fresh ingredients. The gardens are more easily integrated when they are easily accessible. The materiality of the gardens does not require fully equipped kitchens. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Whom Do Urban Agriculture Parks Provide Landscape Services to and How? A Case Study of Beijing, China
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 4967; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12124967 - 18 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 717
Abstract
An urban agriculture park (UAP) is a mixture of various kinds of urban agriculture and has a group of administrators to plan and manage its landscapes. Thus, the relationships between users and the ability of the UAPs to provide services are crucial. This [...] Read more.
An urban agriculture park (UAP) is a mixture of various kinds of urban agriculture and has a group of administrators to plan and manage its landscapes. Thus, the relationships between users and the ability of the UAPs to provide services are crucial. This study investigated the user profiles of three kinds of UAPs in Beijing, China. Investigation of 345 interviewees suggested that most of the users have an upper-middle level income and are well educated. Social connections vary across different types of UAPs. An assessment matrix of landscape services was introduced for a pioneer of UAP, Little Donkey Farm, based on questionnaires, a field survey, and indicators of landscape patterns. Pearson correlations between service demands and users’ characters showed age, companions, and education level were significantly correlated to the needs of scenery and education services. The landscape with the highest supply value was the vegetable plots planted by members. The scenery service was not adequately supplied, and 31.5% of the areas did not meet the demand. Based on the budgets of supply and demand, six types of landscape should be optimized. This study provides an approach to understand the path of landscape service provision in UAP and supports basic knowledge on how to better involve urban agriculture in sustainable development. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Primacy of Politics in Public Food Security Policies: The Case of Home Gardens
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 4316; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104316 - 25 May 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1042
Abstract
Home gardens are often conceived as a panacea to contribute to the problem of food insecurity in poor rural and urban households. However, systematic reviews indicate weak evidence of significant impacts on families. This way, there has been an intense discussion about their [...] Read more.
Home gardens are often conceived as a panacea to contribute to the problem of food insecurity in poor rural and urban households. However, systematic reviews indicate weak evidence of significant impacts on families. This way, there has been an intense discussion about their effectiveness. This research aims to generate knowledge about the relevance of assuming food production in home gardens as an alternative to the home consumption. Two questions drive this paper: what number of home gardens, supported by three different government programs, persists? Moreover, what factors explain their permanence? Our sample constituted 261 beneficiaries, and the collection of data was through face-to-face field surveys and in situ visits to the vegetable garden granted. We show that less than 7.5% of gardens remain in right conditions after two years of establishment. The pleasure and need to produce, family involvement, urban/rural location, and the technology provided are determining factors for permanence. The results support the argument that the high rate of home gardens that fail is related to the primacy of politics in considering the problem of food security as a “lack of assets” to produce. Thus, this suggests that there is a weak link between the problem, policies, and the politics. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Growing for Sydney: Exploring the Urban Food System through Farmers’ Social Networks
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3346; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083346 - 20 Apr 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1076
Abstract
Growing urban populations’ increased demand for food coupled with the inherent risks of relying on the global food system has spurred planning strategies by city governments for implementing urban agriculture at different scales. Urban agriculture manifests in a variety of different forms, often [...] Read more.
Growing urban populations’ increased demand for food coupled with the inherent risks of relying on the global food system has spurred planning strategies by city governments for implementing urban agriculture at different scales. Urban agriculture manifests in a variety of different forms, often with different functions. However, within each type, embeddedness in the socio-ecological urban system can vary substantially as a result of specific characteristics and actors involved. This has a profound impact on the feasibility and sustainability of individual farm practices and, consequently, when scaled up to the urban food system as a whole. In this paper, I apply the concept of social networks to understand how commercial urban farmers gain access to and make use of tangible and intangible resources available to them in the context of the urban food system. Using a qualitative approach, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 farmers in Sydney, Australia. The question guide, developed based on the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework, captured farm traits and access to resources through social networks. Findings illustrate three emergent patterns leveraging urban-local, rural-local, and urban-global networks as farmers pursued sustainable livelihoods. In conclusion, land is only one driver, among many, of the sustainability of the local food system. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Placemaking in Action: Factors That Support or Obstruct the Development of Urban Community Gardens
Sustainability 2020, 12(2), 657; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020657 - 16 Jan 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1965
Abstract
The paper examines factors that support or obstruct the development of urban community garden projects. It combines a systematic scholarly literature review with empirical research from case studies located in New Zealand and Germany. The findings are discussed against the backdrop of placemaking [...] Read more.
The paper examines factors that support or obstruct the development of urban community garden projects. It combines a systematic scholarly literature review with empirical research from case studies located in New Zealand and Germany. The findings are discussed against the backdrop of placemaking processes: urban community gardens are valuable platforms to observe space-to-place transformations. Following a social-constructionist approach, literature-informed enablers and barriers for the development of urban community gardens are analysed against perceived notions informed by local interviewees with regard to their biophysical and technical, socio-cultural and economic, and political and administrative dimensions. These dimensions are incorporated into a systematic and comprehensive category system. This approach helps observe how the essential biophysical-material base of the projects is overlaid with socio-cultural factors and shaped by governmental or administrative regulations. Perceptual differences become evident and are discussed through the lens of different actors. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Environmental Assessment of an Urban Vertical Hydroponic Farming System in Sweden
Sustainability 2019, 11(15), 4124; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11154124 - 31 Jul 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3992
Abstract
With an expanding population and changing dynamics in global food markets, it is important to find solutions for more resilient food production methods closer to urban environments. Recently, vertical farming systems have emerged as a potential solution for urban farming. However, although there [...] Read more.
With an expanding population and changing dynamics in global food markets, it is important to find solutions for more resilient food production methods closer to urban environments. Recently, vertical farming systems have emerged as a potential solution for urban farming. However, although there is an increasing body of literature reviewing the potential of urban and vertical farming systems, only a limited number of studies have reviewed the sustainability of these systems. The aim of this article was to understand the environmental impacts of vertical hydroponic farming in urban environments applied to a case study vertical hydroponic farm in Stockholm, Sweden. This was carried out by evaluating environmental performance using a life cycle perspective to assess the environmental impacts and comparing to potential scenarios for improvement options. The results suggest that important aspects for the vertical hydroponic system include the growing medium, pots, electricity demand, the transportation of raw materials and product deliveries. By replacing plastic pots with paper pots, large reductions in GHG emissions, acidification impacts, and abiotic resource depletion are possible. Replacing conventional gardening soil as the growing medium with coir also leads to large environmental impact reductions. However, in order to further reduce the impacts from the system, more resource-efficient steps will be needed to improve impacts from electricity demand, and there is potential to develop more symbiotic exchanges to employ urban wastes and by-products. Full article
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