This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

How to Feed the Growing Urban Population

My wife and I just planted our summer garden. and while our small garden falls far short of feeding us, it supplements our diet and is part of a growing (no pun intended) movement to bring agriculture back into urban areas. BBC News has a nice summary of some of the technological advances that are coming online to facilitate this.
Included in the mix of successful city-based agricultural projects are rooftop gardens, rooftop greenhouses (both low tech and hydroponic), above-ground planting beds, the use of empty lots as farmland, and vertical farms that occupy tall buildings and abandoned warehouses. Collectively, these examples show the validity of growing food in the city. Not only could be they be carried out efficiently – such as rooftop greenhouses giving much higher yields than outdoor farms – but they could also operate without the pollution associated with outdoor farming.
Urban agriculture has the potential to become so pervasive within our cities that by the year 2050 they may be able to provide its citizens with up to 50% of the food they consume. In doing so, ecosystems that were fragmented in favour of farmland could be allowed to regain most of their ecological functions, creating a much healthier planet for all creatures great and small.
The biggest problem, alluded to in the article, is that many cities of developing countries are densely settled places with poor infrastructure, and it may require a heretofore unseen commitment to planning and building in order to bring about this kind of urban agricultural revolution.

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