Economic, Social and Environmental benefits of Urban Agriculture.
Updated: Jun 12
For my University project, I wrote an Assessment of Finding on urban agriculture in Portugal.
Among many unique things I encountered in Portugal, the benefits listed below are universal and applied in all cities. Urban Agriculture (UA) provides multiple services to its citizens.
Economic benefits of urban agriculture (UA) include: generating jobs, supplementing household income, including women, children and the poor.
These short food chains improve farmers' livelihood and support the local economy in urban and peri-urban areas.
Social benefits created by urban agriculture.
Studies have found that UA's main benefits are improved access to food, a more nutritious and diverse diet, and affordability. The producers and their consumers, the urban dwellers, consume fresh fruits and vegetables, regularly improving their diet and health.
Urban agriculture reduces hunger and achieves food security in many regions. The role of urban green infrastructures on health is well known: it provides a supportive habitable environment for humans, offering an essential protective function for human mental health such as reduced anxiety and depression. Urban green areas can be a healthy environment that provides a place to escape from stressful and challenging situations (e.g., noise pollution) and offers possibilities for health-supporting activities, walkable places.
Furthermore, producing food within urban areas can improve the environment by reducing food miles, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; therefore, enhancing air and water quality. Improved air quality reduces the cases of asthma, especially relevant in minority and poor communities. UPA creates greener environments, greener cities create microclimatic conditions, reduce the urban heat island effect, and lower air-condition costs.
Using native plants in Urban agriculture attracts wildlife, beneficial insects, and birds, promoting biodiversity and conservation.
Often gardens are created in vacant, unused spaces; therefore, these gardens improve soils, prevent soil erosion and reduce stormwater runoffs. Green belt plantations, such as orchards, when surrounding cities, can protect gardens from harsh winds and sand encroachment and improve annual crops' microclimates.
Pictures were taken in my urban Washington, D.C. garden.