Apart from news on the United States presidency and the pandemic, 2021 greeted us with some concerning local news: food prices have gone up. For instance, the price of the humble sili, a usual benchmark for food prices, was at P800 a kilo at the start of the year. Scarcity was the reported cause.
Globally, cities occupy 2 percent of total land while croplands take up 7 percent. The area consumed by livestock including the agricultural land used to feed them consume 27 percent of total global land area, more than the area occupied by forests. With increasing meat consumption brought about by increasing urbanization and affluence, livestock grazing and crop production as feed for livestock will further encroach into natural areas, putting biodiversity and natural systems at risk.
Ideas for more deliberate and intensive integration of agriculture into the urban realm vary from the pragmatic to the visionary, ranging from “Agrihoods”, Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes (CPULs) of Bohn and Viljoen, Vertical Farms by Despommier and even MRDV’s provocative concept of a Pig City: high-rises to grow livestock. Concepts of Urban Agro Ecology and Permaculture draw from the central idea that agriculture could be an essential element of sustainable urban infrastructure.
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