Editorial - Food and Cities
Urban agriculture: Moving towards food sovereignty?
By Eric Holt-Giménez
Nyeleni Newsletter, Num 11, September 2012
“If natural food is expensive, it becomes luxury food and only rich people are able to afford it. […] Natural food must be available locally at a reasonable price.”
Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution
Nearly a quarter of the world’s fresh food is supplied by approximately one billion people who produce fruits and vegetables on urban and peri-urban farms and gardens. While most of this food is consumed by the producers themselves, a substantial part goes directly into urban markets at affordable prices. Given that over half of the world’s economically poor population now live in cities, and given the dangerous volatility of global food markets, this locally-produced food is becoming increasingly important to urban food security. While much of this urban production takes place in the Global South (e.g., Hanoi: 80% of fresh vegetables, Shanghai: 60% of vegetables, 100% of milk, 90% of eggs, 50% of pork and poultry; Dakar, 60% of vegetables, 65% poultry and 50% milk; Accra, 90% of fresh vegetables; Havana: 2438,7 hectares produce 25000 tons of food each year), increasingly, urban food production is taking root in Northern cities among underserved marginalised groups. In producing their own fresh food, urban communities are improving their diet and their incomes. With the recurrent global food price crises, urban agriculture is increasing, as is processing and distribution, and the gradual shift toward local control over the food system.
Eric Holt-Gimenez, Food First
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