Knowledge for better food systems


This report builds upon the Growing food in cities report. Whereas the emphasis of Growing food in cities was very much on the potential benefits of urban agriculture, this report focuses on what the actual benefits have been, and on the feasibility of developing food growing activities further, given London's specific social, economic and environmental context.

The report begins with a general introduction to London's social, economic and natural environment and a brief analysis of its food system. This is followed by an overview of existing food growing activities in London, which includes commercial farming, allotment gardening and community based projects.

The next sections assess the current contribution that food growing activities make to London's environmental, economic, health, community and educational development and to a sustainable land use strategy. Fifteen detailed case studies of food growing projects and a number of other project summaries show how food growing projects work in practice, and illustrate the points made in the main text.

The report also contains a map, showing the spread and location of food growing activity in the capital, and a diagram showing how the various schemes, policies and existing projects could all work together to further food growing activities in any London borough. Based on this assessment the report presents a conclusion and a series of recommendations aimed at national and local policy makers.

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Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.

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