An overview of urban agricultural activities in cities


We all know that spending time in nature is good for us. We feel better when we experience the world around us, it brings us peace and takes us out of ourselves and reduces our stress levels. Nature is one of our best friends. As cities encourage and mandate ways to mitigate and adapt to climate change, adding green infrastructure that allows us to grow food is a critically important response.

There are many forms of green infrastructure for food production. Scaling them up will be key to slowing runaway climate change, for example by reducing long-distance transport emissions associated with our current unsustainable food system.

Here are some of the ways cities are encouraging local food production through various technologies and approaches.

Green roof trusses

In 2009, the City of Toronto passed a regulation requiring certain new buildings of a specific size to incorporate green roof technology into their final designs. Since then, other major North American cities have followed suit – San Francisco, New York, Portland and Denver, for example. Several of these cities require green roofs on large new buildings while others have programs that provide funding for green roofs and rooftop trusses on existing structures.

Green roofs vary widely in type and purpose – from pure aesthetics to food culture. Some cities, such as Brooklyn, New York, are home to large soil-based rooftop farms, such as the Brooklyn barn series of rooftop trusses. Together, these three farms generate over 100,000 pounds of organic produce each year. Many types of food can be grown on rooftop farms, from cabbage, potatoes, and carrots to leafy greens and micro-veggies. Several rooftop farms located in China have even been designed to support tea production.

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