Lead in Urban Soils: A Real or Perceived Concern for Urban Agriculture?

Urban agriculture is growing in cities across the United States. It has the potential to provide multiple benefits, including increased food security. Concerns about soil contamination in urban areas can be an impediment to urban agriculture. Lead is the most common contaminant in urban areas. In this paper, direct (soil ingestion via outdoor and indoor exposure) and indirect (consumption of food grown in Pb-contaminated soils) exposure pathways are reviewed. It is highly unlikely that urban agriculture will increase incidences of elevated blood Pb for children in urban areas. This is due to the high likelihood that agriculture will improve soils in urban areas, resulting in reduced bioavailability of soil Pb and reduced fugitive dust. Plant uptake of Pb is also typically very low. The exceptions are low-growing leafy crops where soil-splash particle contamination is more likely and expanded hypocotyl root vegetables (e.g., carrot). However, even with higher bioaccumulation factors, it is not clear that the Pb in root vegetables or any other crops will be absorbed after eating. Studies have shown limited absorption of Pb when ingested with food. Best management practices to assure minimal potential for exposure are also common practices in urban gardens. These include the use of residuals-based composts and soil amendments and attention to keeping soil out of homes. This review suggests that benefits associated with urban agriculture far outweigh any risks posed by elevated soil Pb."

Tags:

Lead in Urban Soils: A Real or Perceived Concern for Urban Agriculture?

Urban agriculture is growing in cities across the United States. It has the potential to provide multiple benefits, including increased food security. Concerns about soil contamination in urban areas can be an impediment to urban agriculture. Lead is the most common contaminant in urban areas. In this paper, direct (soil ingestion via outdoor and indoor exposure) and indirect (consumption of food grown in Pb-contaminated soils) exposure pathways are reviewed. It is highly unlikely that urban agriculture will increase incidences of elevated blood Pb for children in urban areas. This is due to the high likelihood that agriculture will improve soils in urban areas, resulting in reduced bioavailability of soil Pb and reduced fugitive dust. Plant uptake of Pb is also typically very low. The exceptions are low-growing leafy crops where soil-splash particle contamination is more likely and expanded hypocotyl root vegetables (e.g., carrot). However, even with higher bioaccumulation factors, it is not clear that the Pb in root vegetables or any other crops will be absorbed after eating. Studies have shown limited absorption of Pb when ingested with food. Best management practices to assure minimal potential for exposure are also common practices in urban gardens. These include the use of residuals-based composts and soil amendments and attention to keeping soil out of homes. This review suggests that benefits associated with urban agriculture far outweigh any risks posed by elevated soil Pb."

Tags:

Resolving differing stakeholder perceptions of urban rooftop farming in Mediterranean cities: promoting food production as a driver for innovative forms of urban agriculture

Abstract Urban agriculture (UA) is spreading within the Global North, largely for food production, ranging from household individual gardens to community gardens that boost neighborhood regeneration. Additionally, UA is also being integrated into buildings, such as urban rooftop farming (URF). Some URF experiences succeed in North America both as private and community initiatives. To date, little attention has been paid to how stakeholders perceive UA and URF in the Mediterranean or to the role of food production in these initiatives. This study examines the promotion and inclusion of new forms of UA through the practice of URF and contributes to the nascent literature on the stakeholder and public perceptions of UA. It seeks to understand how those perceptions shape the development of new urban agriculture practices and projects. Barcelona (Spain) was used as a Mediterranean case study where UA and URF projects are growing in popularity. Through semistructured interviews with 25 core stakeholders, we show that UA is largely perceived as a social activity rather than a food production initiative, because the planning of urban gardens in Barcelona was traditionally done to achieve leisure and other social goals. However, several stakeholders highlighted the potential to increase urban fertility through URF by occupying currently unused spaces. As a result, the positive valuation of URF depends on the conceptualization of UA as a social or food production activity. In turn, such conceptualization shapes barriers and opportunities for the development of URF. While most UA-related stakeholders (e.g., food co-ops, NGOs) preferred soil-based UA, newer stakeholders (e.g., architects) highlighted the economic, social and environmental opportunities of local and efficient food production through innovative URF.

Tags:

Resolving differing stakeholder perceptions of urban rooftop farming in Mediterranean cities: promoting food production as a driver for innovative forms of urban agriculture

Abstract Urban agriculture (UA) is spreading within the Global North, largely for food production, ranging from household individual gardens to community gardens that boost neighborhood regeneration. Additionally, UA is also being integrated into buildings, such as urban rooftop farming (URF). Some URF experiences succeed in North America both as private and community initiatives. To date, little attention has been paid to how stakeholders perceive UA and URF in the Mediterranean or to the role of food production in these initiatives. This study examines the promotion and inclusion of new forms of UA through the practice of URF and contributes to the nascent literature on the stakeholder and public perceptions of UA. It seeks to understand how those perceptions shape the development of new urban agriculture practices and projects. Barcelona (Spain) was used as a Mediterranean case study where UA and URF projects are growing in popularity. Through semistructured interviews with 25 core stakeholders, we show that UA is largely perceived as a social activity rather than a food production initiative, because the planning of urban gardens in Barcelona was traditionally done to achieve leisure and other social goals. However, several stakeholders highlighted the potential to increase urban fertility through URF by occupying currently unused spaces. As a result, the positive valuation of URF depends on the conceptualization of UA as a social or food production activity. In turn, such conceptualization shapes barriers and opportunities for the development of URF. While most UA-related stakeholders (e.g., food co-ops, NGOs) preferred soil-based UA, newer stakeholders (e.g., architects) highlighted the economic, social and environmental opportunities of local and efficient food production through innovative URF.

Tags:

Urban agriculture and the prospects for deep democracy

The interest in and enthusiasm for urban agriculture (UA) in urban communities, the non-profit sector, and governmental institutions has grown exponentially over the past decade. Part of the appeal of UA is its potential to improve the civic health of a community, advancing what some call food democracy. Yet despite the increasing presence of the language of civic agriculture or food democracy, UA organizations and practitioners often still focus on practical, shorter-term projects in an effort both to increase local involvement and to attract funding from groups focused on quantifiable deliverables. As such, it seems difficult to move beyond the rhetoric of food democracy towards significant forms of popular participation and deliberation within particular communities. In this paper we provide a theoretical framework—deep democracy—that helps to contextualize nascent attempts at civic agriculture or food democracy within a broader struggle for democratic practices and relationships. We argue that urban agriculture efforts are well positioned to help citizens cultivate lasting relationships across lines of difference and amidst significant power differentials—relationships that could form the basis of a community’s collective capacity to shape its future. We analyze the theory of deep democracy through recent experiences with UA in Denver, Colorado, and we identify ways in which UA can extend its reach and impact by focusing more consciously on its political or civic potential.

Tags:

Urban agriculture and the prospects for deep democracy

The interest in and enthusiasm for urban agriculture (UA) in urban communities, the non-profit sector, and governmental institutions has grown exponentially over the past decade. Part of the appeal of UA is its potential to improve the civic health of a community, advancing what some call food democracy. Yet despite the increasing presence of the language of civic agriculture or food democracy, UA organizations and practitioners often still focus on practical, shorter-term projects in an effort both to increase local involvement and to attract funding from groups focused on quantifiable deliverables. As such, it seems difficult to move beyond the rhetoric of food democracy towards significant forms of popular participation and deliberation within particular communities. In this paper we provide a theoretical framework—deep democracy—that helps to contextualize nascent attempts at civic agriculture or food democracy within a broader struggle for democratic practices and relationships. We argue that urban agriculture efforts are well positioned to help citizens cultivate lasting relationships across lines of difference and amidst significant power differentials—relationships that could form the basis of a community’s collective capacity to shape its future. We analyze the theory of deep democracy through recent experiences with UA in Denver, Colorado, and we identify ways in which UA can extend its reach and impact by focusing more consciously on its political or civic potential.

Tags:

The boundaries of urban metabolism Towards a political–industrial ecology

This paper considers the limits and potential of ‘urban metabolism’ to conceptualize city processes. Three ‘ecologies’ of urban metabolism have emerged. Each privileges a particular dimension of urban space, shaped by epistemology, politics, and model-making. Marxist ecologies theorize it as hybridized socio-natures that (re)produce uneven outcomes; industrial ecology, as stocks and flows of materials and energy; and urban ecology, as complex socio-ecological systems. We map these scholarly islands through bibliometric analysis and literature review (1965-2012), unveiling how the metaphor has become stagnant. To reinvigorate this research we propose the development of political–industrial ecology, using urban metabolism as a boundary metaphor.

Tags:

The potential for local croplands to meet US food demand

Local food systems may facilitate agroecological practices that conserve nutrient, energy, and water resources. However, little is known about the potential for local food systems to scale beyond niche markets and meet a substantial fraction of total food demand. Here we estimate the upper potential for all existing US croplands to meet total US food demand through local food networks. Our spatially explicit approach simulates the years 1850 through 2000 and accounts for a wide range of diets, food waste, population distributions, cropland areas, and crop yields. Although we find that local food potential has declined over time, particularly in some coastal cities, our results also demonstrate an unexpectedly large current potential for meeting as much as 90% of the national food demand. This decline in potential is associated with demographic and agronomic trends, resulting in extreme pressures on agroecological systems that, if left unchecked, could severely undermine recent national policies focused on food localization. Nevertheless, these results provide a spatially explicit foundation for exploring the many dimensions of agroecosystem sustainability.

Tags:

Municipal Zoning for Local Foods in Iowa: A Guidebook for Reducing Local Regulatory Barriers to Local Foods

The popularity of local foods has increased significantly in the last few decades, pushed along in recent years by a heightened interest of consumers in buying local and sustainably-grown foods. From 1997 to 2007 direct-to-consumer food marketing grew by 104.7 percent while total agricultural sales increased by only 47.6 percent. (Diamond and Soto, 2009). According to a recent report of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 163,675 farmers sold an estimated $6.1 billion in locally marketed foods in 2012. In 2014, there were 8,628 farmers markets operating across the nation, which represents a 180 percent growth in the number of markets since 2006 (Low et al, 2015).

Tags:

Agriculture Urbaine

Le portail des initiatives montréalaise en agriculture urbaine est maintenant en ligne. Les mordus d’agriculture et les jardiniers en herbe peuvent désormais découvrir les potagers et les fermes de l’île de Montréal. Le lancement de la vitrine a eu lieu le 12 avril en présence d'une centaine d'acteurs de l'agriculture à Montréal. Pour faire partie du mouvement, inscrivez votre jardin ! Qu'il soit dans votre cour, sur votre balcon ou sur votre toit. La vitrine interactive est un outil de promotion pour l’agriculture urbaine montréalaise, qui est en plein essor. Elle présente une cartographie des jardins communautaires et collectifs, où les citoyens, les entreprises et les organismes sont invités à inscrire leur potager, à offrir ou partager des espaces, des outils et des trucs de jardinage, voire même leurs récoltes. À Montréal, ce sont des dizaines de milliers de jardiniers urbains qui, chaque printemps, planifient leurs prochaines récoltes. Le portail est une initiative du Collectif de recherche en aménagement paysager et agriculture urbaine durable (CRAPAUD), en partenariat avec l’Institut des sciences de l’environnement de l’UQAM, la Conférence régionale des élus (CRÉ) de Montréal et la Direction de santé publique de Montréal.

Tags:

Cities and Agriculture: Developing Resilient Urban Food Systems

As people increasingly migrate to urban settings and more than half of the world's population now lives in cities, it is vital to plan and provide for sustainable and resilient food systems which reflect this challenge. This volume presents experience and evidence-based "state of the art" chapters on the key dimensions of urban food challenges and types of intra- and peri-urban agriculture. The book provides urban planners, local policy makers and urban development practitioners with an overview of crucial aspects of urban food systems based on an up to date review of research results and practical experiences in both developed and developing countries. By doing so, the international team of authors provides a balanced textbook for students of the growing number of courses on sustainable agriculture, food and urban studies, as well as a solid basis for well-informed policy making, planning and implementation regarding the development of sustainable, resilient and just urban food systems.

Tags: