Vertical farm, collective garden, eco-pasting ... You have certainly already met a project for urban agriculture at your home. What is it exactly? And how can these modes of production, complementary to conventional agriculture, respond to social and environmental issues? Follow the guide to understand what urban agriculture is.
The origins of urban agriculture
A response to food crises
If the Sumerians already exercised a form of urban agriculture over 3,000 years ago, its contemporary history finds Its origins in the 19th century. In Paris, the “Plain of virtues", Which extended from Aubervilliers to La Courneuve, housed the largest market gardening area in France. On these 1000 hectares of earth, the “vegetable plowers” cultivated en masse cabbage, onions, leeks and turnips, sold in the halls of the capital. The industrialization and the arrival of the railroad reduced this space to the point of seeing it disappear with the creation of the Rungis national interest market in the 1960s.
However, other forms of urban agriculture have germinated, like the workers' gardens, created in 1896 by Jules-Auguste Lemire. With these plots of culture made available by the municipalities, the abbot wanted to improve the fate of workers. After the Second World War, the workers' gardens were renamed "family gardens”, Open to all population categories. Of nourishing spaces, they have transformed into places of exchange, learning and leisure.
In the United States, fertile disobedience
On the other side of the Atlantic, it was in the 1970s, with the economic crisis, that was cultivated for the first time large urban wasteland. The residents of New York, carried by the artist Liz Christy, invested the poorest suburbs to transform them into market gardening and debate.
This “agricultural agora” has spread to Europe, with the explosion of the “Green Guerilla” movement to green urban areas - even if it means entering civil disobedience. Militant urban agriculture was born.
Various production methods
All urban farmers
Today, the market gardening and farming areas in urban areas Take various forms, garden roofs with vertical farms, including collective gardens. According to Guillaume Morel-Chevillet, specialist in urban landscape and agriculture in the city and author of the book "Urban Farmers", three forms of urban agriculture coexist:
- Amateure, with the establishment of micro market gardening projects on balconies, terraces and city gardens;
- Collective, with non -profit projects (residential, shared, integration gardens) marked by their own form of governance;
- Professional, with more complex systems (microfermes, greenhouses in roofs, educational farms, eco-pasting) intended for service or sale.
Urban agriculture, necessarily above ground?
Culture methods, on the other hand, vary considerably from one place of production to another. If the earth culture exists in urban agriculture (and concerns, according to the 2022 barometer of urban agriculture of the agri-city.info site, 44 % of professional producers), others above -ground shapes rub shoulders with it. Let us quote LHydroponia (culture on neutral substrate, associated with water irrigation and nutrient solutions), Hydroculture (based on a water substrate enriched with fertilizers), Aquaponics (cultivation system associating plant cultivation with hydroponics and fish breeding), Airport (based on an air and water intake) ...
These systems offer the advantage of using Less chemicals and save resources. At Urban Cuisine, we have chosen hydroponics to offer you a interior vegetable garden that produces harvests all year round !
Urban agriculture, virtuous for the planet
An alternative to conventional agriculture
For decades, Intensive agriculture impoverished the floors, with selected seeds not for their nutritional qualities, but for their shelf life. Consequence: fruits and vegetables nutrients, often synonymous with transport and intermediaries.
Production in urban areas, if it cannot feed all city dwellers, offers a alternative to conventional agriculture, with rustic and varied fruits and vegetables, and the possibility of making organic - the need for fertilizers and herbicides being very limited. Products locally, plants are sold on local markets, from the producer (or harvested at home, in the case of homemade production). The carbon footprint linked to transport and energy -related energy are deleted.
When nature is invited in our cities
Cultivating in urban areas is also Valuing abandoned spaces By welcoming biodiversity. In wasteland or on roofs, these “green belts” play a systemic role, notably offering solutions for Recycle organic waste (thanks to composting or methanization) or wastewater.
The greenhouses installed on the roofs improve the Thermal comfort of habitats and stem Heat islets, from which our cities are likely to suffer in the years to come. Urban agriculture, especially in indoor, finally offers great possibilities in terms ofwater saving. It is estimated for example that a hydroponic system, like the Patch liv, saves around 90% of the water required for a cultivation in the ground.
Urban agriculture: what challenges for men?
Urban agriculture, booming, also responds to a major issue: nourish city dwellers. Can it really? According to Fao (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations),
"Urban and peri -urban agriculture represents a fundamental strategy to strengthen the resilience of the food supply of cities."
If, in theory, this new form of agriculture could ensure Productivity 15 times higher than that of rural areas farms, it does not allow, in fact, theCities self -sufficiency. In question: spaces on the soil too limited, the roofs that do not all lend themselves to culture, access reduced to water. Still, it constitutes a beautiful alternative to stock up on vegetables and berries, with Healthy and sustainable productions.
Urban agriculture, creator of links
It is not for nothing if urban agriculture has taken up subjects such as integration or community life. In community gardens, it acts as a links Between neighbors, between social origins, between generations. In associations, it is Creator of jobs and insertion. With our interior vegetable garden, we offer a New gardening experience, to live with the family. Urban agriculture also makes it possible to forge a link between the city and the rural world, at a time when a return to the earth sounds obvious.
Thus, in a Interview for the world, the specialist in urban agriculture Christine Aubry, researcher at Inra-Agroparisech, argued that the strongest link generated by urban agriculture is the educational link.
“When we, urban, have three or four generations of gap with agriculture, (re) learn how a culture cycle takes place, how a hen, a bee, is how it grazes a sheep, is an important function for us Reconnect to nature and food production. ”
Protean, perpetual evolution, urban agriculture is today invited In many of our metropolises. Paris, but also Lyon, Bordeaux, Marseille, Rennes, Lille or Nantes invest massively in agricultural land and operations on their urban territory. They are committed to these new forms of agricultural production to be preserved and benefit their inhabitants.
So urban agriculture is theagriculture of tomorrow ? As we know, she will not solve the global food crisis. However, its presence remains fundamental to obtaining in fresh products and guaranteeing a Food Safety In the event of a crisis or shortage. It is an integral part of a panel of Solutions for the planet and for men, in synergy with traditional agriculture.