Participatory Technology Development for Sustainable Intensification of Urban Agriculture
The urban setting offers special advantages for food and animal production, but also presents particular challenges. Urban agriculture needs to be highly innovative in competing and adapting to new situations.
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Urban and peri-urban agricultural systems exhibit even higher levels of complexity than rural upland systems and call for a wider range of participatory methods. This chapter discusses participatory agricultural research and its relevancy for the urban setting.
A sustainable urban livelihoods framework is discussed, which enables to better understand and define the multi-sectoral, institutional and policy aspects of urban agriculture in order to identify appropriate interventions.
Specific participatory methods are discussed for urban horticulture and livestock to help urban producers adapt agriculture to urban realities.
The production of food, feed, fuel and construction material in and around cities has almost as long a history as human settlements themselves. The earliest cities in the Fertile Crescent, in China and in South and Central America report the presence of local food production, which was an essential component of urban food security in times of conflict and military insecurity.
The urban setting offers special advantages for food and animal production, but also presents particular challenges. Cities accumulate nutrients through the concentration of human population and their organic waste products, whether in solid or liquid form.
These nutrients can often be acquired free or at low cost and can be converted into edible plant parts or animal products. On the other hand, as cities develop, there is increasing demand for residential and business accommodation which competes with agricultural space. Producers must adapt to these more constrained conditions, whilst still trying to maintain productivity through intensifying production techniques.