Innovation grows food for thought
As densely populated urban areas expand, so do the food resource needs of the population living there. Already, 20% of the world's undernourished people live in cities, and urban expansion is expected to further increase resource scarcity.
This agriculture challenge demands urgent and adequate response from city and national authorities as well as international organizations. To address food insecurity, many organizations are beginning to turn towards urban farming initiatives. For example, the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN), which brings together a number of international organizations in order to develop sustainable strategies for city-level adaptation to climate change, has already included urban and peri-urban agriculture as an important initiative to build resilient cities.
There are several measures to confront the issue of self-contained food supply, ranging from preventing construction in selected green areas like wetlands or steep slopes to preferential food procurement from family and community farms located within the city.
Additionally, fruits and vegetables could even be cultivated in open green spaces, such as public parks and gardens. Vertical gardening is an approach that has been discussed for some years now – an application area where durable materials like polyurethane could be used efficiently.
Polyurethane can also be used to create solar dryers that increase the shelf life of food. Today, 550 solar dryers made from polyurethane have already been installed, and as a result, farmers can decrease food waste, secure their income, and better feed their communities.
Ultimately, urban farms can help bring healthy options to urban food deserts, reduce the environmental impact of feeding the world, and create resilient cities. And that seems like reason enough to continue the expansion of urban farming initiatives.