- 22 October 2012
Urban horticulture is the idea of taking horticultural growing out of the countryside and relocating it into urban areas much nearer to where consumers live, reducing the 'food miles', the distribution cost and potentially leaving the produce fresher, healthier and tastier.
Concepts include a wide range of activities ranging from community rooftop gardens, supermarkets sourcing locally grown produce and major cities developing urban food strategies. Many initiatives especially in Europe and the USA are focused on education and reconnecting urban dwellers with the origins of their food, while also promoting citizen involvement.
In developing countries the potential for urban horticulture may go even further contributing to food security, poverty alleviation, improved food quality, as well as 'greener' and more habitable cities saving energy, water, waste and space.
The growing worldwide trend of urbanisation also brings new possibilities for smallholder farming in the 'hinterland' of major cities. There remains many challenges ahead not least the widespread lack of knowledge by city authorities, urban planners, businesses and development groups, of the multiple benefits, constraints, preconditions and needed policies to make this more widespread.