This is a policy goal that some cities may choose to adopt in order to promote local food production and improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables for residents. However, there are likely many factors that would need to be considered in order to determine whether or not such a goal is realistic or achievable for a particular city, such as the availability of suitable land, the local climate, and the resources and expertise available to farmers. Additionally, this goal may be challenging depending on the specific context and current state of the urban agriculture.
Cities should aim to produce at least 30 per cent of their own fruit and vegetables by 2030 through tech-enabled food production.
Thanks to technology, growing crops is no longer constrained by traditional growing cycles, soil health or weather conditions – which is a good thing because these factors are no longer reliable. Rather, as a result of climate change, they vary drastically and are often unpredictable.
Further, the long and complex supply chains that bring food to our cities are vulnerable to extreme weather, political instability – such as the current crisis in Ukraine – and pandemics, as illustrated by empty supermarket shelves during Covid-19.
It is estimated that by 2050, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities and will consume 80 per cent of all food produced. Cities must leverage technological innovations – particularly indoor vertical farms, greenhouses and precision-farming tools – to feed their growing populations.
There are several ways that cities can work to improve their food resilience, which refers to the ability of a city to provide its residents with a reliable and secure supply of food.
Here are some strategies proposed to boost food resilience and security in cities.
- Urban agriculture: This involves growing food within the city limits, using methods such as rooftop gardens, community gardens, precision greenhouses, and indoor vertical farms.
- Promoting local food systems: This can include supporting local farmers and encouraging residents to buy produce from local sources, which can help to reduce the city’s dependence on food imported from outside the area.
- Food distribution: This involves bringing food into the city from surrounding rural areas through a variety of means, such as trucks or trains.
- Building food storage and distribution infrastructure: This can include creating cold storage facilities and distribution networks to help ensure that food can be kept fresh and transported to where it is needed in the city.
- Promoting sustainable food systems: Encourage organic farming and permaculture practices, which has a lower environmental impact and can help to improve soil health and biodiversity.
- Food processing and storage: This involves processing and storing food within the city, so that it is readily available for consumption.
- Community support systems: This includes non-profit organizations, Coops and bartering systems that promote fair and local trade of food
- Innovations: Developing new technologies to promote food production in urban areas, such as indoor farming, or new preservation methods.
- Education and awareness: Encourage education and awareness on how to grow food and cook healthy meals, it may have an impact on the food choices of the population, and also providing education about food waste and reducing it.
- Community engagement: Encourage and facilitate community engagement, it could help to build social capital and local networks that can support food resilience.
Overall, it is important to have a diversified and local food system, using multiple methods to produce and distribute food within the city.
It’s also worth noting that different cities will have different needs and challenges when it comes to food resilience, so the strategies that are most effective in one city may not be as effective in another. Additionally, most likely the optimal solution will be a combination of different approaches, tailored to the specific context of the city.