Knowledge for better food systems

Growing Food in Cities

This report shows, through analysis and a wide variety of case studies, that urban agriculture can, in a very practical way, yield a range of benefits.

These include:

  • Community development: by reaffirming community identity, promoting active citizenship, combating age, gender and ethnic discrimination, preventing crime and rehabilitating offenders
  • Economic development: by providing skills training, creating local goods and services, and building an alternative economy
  • Education: by furthering formal learning at school, non-formal education in the community and helping people with special needs
  • Environmental improvement: by increasing biodiversity, tackling waste and reducing transport
  • Health: by improving people's diets, encouraging physical activity and promoting mental health
  • Leisure: by stimulating voluntary action, generating sustainable tourism and developing arts and crafts
  • Sustainable neighbourhoods: by reviving allotments and parks, and regenerating housing developments

Urban food growing projects can face difficulties with access to land, water, money, equipment, knowledge and skills. The report therefore makes a number of recommendations (a summary of these is attached) to policy makers to help ease these problems and, more positively, to encourage and support urban food growing initiatives.

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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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