Did you know? According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Urban and peri-urban farms already supply food to about 700 million city dwellers one-quarter of the world’s urban population and nearly all of the world’s population growth between now and 2030 will be concentrated in urban areas in developing countries, so that by then almost 60% of people in developing countries will live in cities.
In and around Atlanta there is a critical need for accessible, healthy and sustainable food systems in both rural and urban areas particularly those in traditionally underserved and low-income communities. These hubs are increasingly referred to as food deserts because of the number and proportion of low-income residents with little to no access to a supermarket or large grocery store.
There are a host of benefits that can be realized through urban farming. Among them is job creation through skill development and value-added-processing opportunities that would normally be done by workers outside of urban areas. Furthermore, local, sustainable and organic food practices inherent in urban farming have numerous health and environmental benefits. Sustainable growers use fewer, if any pesticides than traditional agriculture and produce food with more nutrients than those produced commercially. Local food is often fresher and eliminates the negative externalities, such as carbon emissions, associated with transport across the country or the globe. Additionally, neighborhoods that come together to develop, nurture and maintain these food systems have stronger relationships and as a result enjoy a stronger sense of community.
Urban farming turns blighted land into community asset, transforming underutilized backyards, public lands, school yards and marginal urban sites into productive growing and educational spaces.