Nutrition-sensitive urban agriculture


Urban and peri-urban agriculture make up a significant proportion of the food supply of many cities and its importance is increasing. Today, around 15 % of the world’s food is grown in urban areas. City and suburban agriculture take many forms (backyard, roof-top, balcony, community gardening in vacant lots and parks, urban fringe agriculture and livestock grazing in open spaces). Food and nutrition security, both of which are necessary for a healthy and balanced diet, require focus on the urban production of food. Such food should include micro nutrients and complement lacking or difficult to obtain foodstuffs. Due consideration should also be given to quality aspects in production and marketing. Only in a few places is the role and importance of urban production, specifically for the poorer parts of urban society, is recognized and acted upon through sound policies, planning procedures and programs. This paper presents the arguments for urban agriculture—in the North as well as in the South—and shows that it has the potential to contribute to diversified diets of urban citizens. More attention should be given to linking it better to the local food system. Recommendations for the support of nutrition sensitive urban agriculture relate to sensitizing and training of all actors, particularly urban planners, in identifying and addressing the specific challenges and potentials as well as giving institutional support to groups working in the area. New, adapted technologies and production systems that fit better into the local food system should be enhanced with due consideration being given to the prevailing legal, social and economic conditions.

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Correspondence to Maria Gerster-Bentaya.

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Gerster-Bentaya, M. Nutrition-sensitive urban agriculture. Food Sec. 5, 723–737 (2013).

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  • Food and nutrition security
  • Food safety
  • Urban agriculture
  • Nutrition sensitive
  • Poverty reduction
  • Health