University of Guelph, Canada
Title: Food security for major urban and metropolitan centers: the convergence of different forms of urban agricultural production in the face of multiple stressors and constraints
Biography: Christopher Bryant
For food security in cities and their spheres of influence, a new conceptual framework is developed, building on the FAO’s pillars of food security and the authors’ research. This framework includes: the availability of adequate food supplies for citizens; the affordability of such food for populations in need in both developing and developed countries; the production of ‘healthy’ foodstuffs, reflecting the growing market and need for such produce. The framework also includes details on the variety of conditions supportive of these dimensions. “Urban” agriculture initially focused on food production in urban agglomerations, but it has been increasingly expanded to include what used to be called ‘peri-urban’ agriculture. This reflects the reality that many examples of the former ‘urban agriculture’ have also been developed in peri-urban areas while some larger scale agricultures can also be found in an urban agglomeration which can include substantial areas of agricultural land and activities. In many urban and metropolitan centers, food is frequently produced on very small parcels of land using innovative technologies and also on roof-top food operations. Such ‘urban’ foodstuff can be sold ‘locally’ to populations in need and to well-off citizens. Developing ‘urban’ food production must contend with many stressors, e.g. climate change and variability, continued urban expansion and competition from producers elsewhere with lower production costs. Within the broad definition of ‘urban agriculture’, food production relies both on soil techniques (conventional and organic horticulture, SPIN, permaculture) as well as ‘soilless’ systems (hydroponics, aquaponics, rooftop gardens). All these issues are developed with examples from different countries’, cities and their spheres of influence. Included are some very innovative forms of food production, in which land per se is not used as the basis to grow food but where, very small spaces and new technologies can produce large quantities of food.