Published by City Farmer, Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture


United Nations Publication

Urban Agriculture:
Food, Jobs and Sustainable Cities

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Urban Agriculture:Food, Jobs & Sustainable Cities

Table of Contents


Introduction to the series

Part I: The Global Significance of Urban Agriculture

1. Cities that feed themselves

  • Myths and reality
  • Basic concepts
  • Urban agriculture and urban systems
    • The urban nutrient cycle
    • The urban food system
  • Structure of urban agriculture
    • Preproduction
    • Production
    • Postproduction
  • Notes

2. Urban agriculture yesterday and today

  • A brief history of urban agriculture
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Latin America
  • Europe and North America
    • Europe
    • North America
  • Summary: Comparisons across continents
  • Notes

Part II: What is Urban Agriculture?

3. Who are the urban farmers?

  • Low-income farmers
  • Middle- and high-income farmers
  • Domestic and international agribusinesses
  • Farmers cooperatives
  • Special groups of farmers
    • Women farmers
    • Immigrant farmers
    • Crisis farmers
  • Notes

4. Where is farming found in the city?

  • Types of spaces used
    • Around the house
    • Community spaces
    • Surplus or reserve public and private spaces
    • Roadsides and other rights-of-way
    • Streamsides and floodplains
    • Water bodies and wetlands
    • Steep slopes
  • Duration of use
    • Permanent use
    • Long-term use
    • Short-term use
  • Location within the metropolitan area
    • Core
    • Corridors
    • Wedges
    • Periphery
  • Access to land and tenure
  • Notes

5. Producing food and fuel in urban areas

  • Aquaculture
    • Aquatic plants
    • Fish and other seafood
  • Horticulture
    • Container horticulture
    • Soilless horticulture
  • Animal husbandry
    • Poultry
    • Small livestock
    • Large livestock
  • Agroforestry
  • Other urban farming activity
    • Fauna
    • Flora
  • Notes

6. Which organizations influence urban agriculture?

  • Different roles for different organizations
  • Support organizations
    • Farmers associations
    • Non-governmental organizations
  • Governments and public authorities
    • Local governments
    • National governments
  • Institutions
    • Institutional providers
    • Research institutes
  • International development agencies
  • Other stakeholders
  • Partnerships among organizations
  • Notes

Part III: Benefits, Problems and Constraints

7. The benefits of urban agriculture

  • Health, nutrition and food security
  • Social benefits
  • Economic benefits
    • Employment, income generation and enterprisedevelopment
    • The national agriculture sector and urban food supply
    • Economic use of land
  • Sustainable urbanization
    • Environmental enhancement
    • Efficient urban management
    • Waste management benefits
    • Conservation of resources
  • Disaster mitigation
    • Productive use of hazard-prone and sensitive areas
    • Mitigation of civil and economic crises
  • Notes

8. Problems related to urban agriculture

  • Health and hygiene problems
    • Crop cultivation in polluted city environments
    • Use of chemicals in urban farming
    • Use of domestic waste in urban farming
    • Rearing livestock in cities
  • Environmental problems
  • Other problems
    • Inefficient use of resources
    • Aesthetic impacts
  • Notes

9. Constraints on urban agriculture

  • Sociocultural biases and institutional constraints
    • The "modern" view of cities
    • "Traditional" sociocultural biases
    • Institutional constraints
  • Constraints on access to resources
    • Irrigation
    • Land and water surfaces
  • Constraints on access to inputs
  • Constraints on access to services
    • Credit
    • Other services
  • Special risks of urban farming
  • Postproduction constraints
  • Organizational constraints
  • Notes

Part IV: The Future of Urban Agriculture

10. Promoting urban agriculture through policy and action

  • Interventions within and across sectors
    • Increase public knowledge and support
    • Build political will
    • Improve organization and communication among farmers
    • Develop a policy framework and build institutional capacity
    • Expand research and training
    • Improve access to resources, inputs and services
    • Maximize health, nutrition and food security
    • Achieve sound environmental and urban management
  • Intervening at the most effective level
    • Community-level actions
    • City-level actions
    • National-level actions
    • International-level actions
  • Notes


A. Acknowledgements
B. Glossary
C. Sources for cases
D. Countries cited in figures, cases and photos
E. Cities and towns visited by The Urban Agriculture Network, 1991-95
F. Selected resource people
G. Selected readings
H. Response form










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Revised September 26, 1999

Published by City Farmer
Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture