Vertical Agriculture?

There are many social benefits that have emerged from urban agricultural practices, such as improved overall social and emotional well-being, improved health and nutrition, increased income, employment, food security within the household, and community social life. Urban agriculture can have a large impact on the social and emotional well-being of individuals. Individuals report to have decreased levels of stress and better overall mental health when they have opportunities to interact with nature through a garden. Urban gardens are thought to be relaxing and calming, and offer a space of retreat in densely populated urban areas.

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UA can have an overall positive impact on community health, which directly impacts individuals social and emotional well-being. There have been many documented cases in which community gardens lead to improved social relationships, increased community pride, and overall community improvement and mobilization. This improvement in overall community health can also be connected to decreased levels of crime and suicide rates.
Urban gardens are often places that facilitate positive social interaction, which also contributes to overall social and emotional well-being. Many gardens facilitate the improvement of social networks within the communities that they are located. For many neighborhoods, gardens provide a “symbolic focus,” which leads to increased neighborhood pride.

Related to the previous point, urban agriculture increases community participation through sensibilization and diagnostic workshops or different commissions in the area of vegetable gardens. Activities which involve hundreds of people.

When individuals come together around UA, physical activity levels are often increased. Everything that is involved in starting and maintaining a garden, from turning the soil to digging holes, contributes to an individual’s physical activity. Many state that working in agriculture is much more interesting and fulfilling than going to the gym, and that it makes getting exercise “fun.” In addition to the exercise that individuals receive while actually working in gardens, many people say that the majority of the exercise they receive through urban agriculture is actually getting to the gardens—many people either walk or ride their bike to the sites, which provides many physical benefits.

UPA can be seen as a means of improving the livelihood of people living in and around cities. Taking part in such practices is seen mostly as informal activity, but in many cities where inadequate, unreliable, and irregular access to food is a recurring problem, urban agriculture has been a positive response to tackling food concerns. Due to the food security that comes with UA, a feelings of independence and empowerment often arise. The ability to produce and grow food for oneself has also been reported to improve levels of self-esteem or of self-efficacy.[19] Households and small communities take advantage of vacant land and contribute not only to their household food needs but also the needs of their resident city. 

Community and residential gardening, as well as small-scale farming, save household food dollars. They promote nutrition and free cash for non-garden foods and other items. As an example you can raise your own chickens on an urban farm and have fresh eggs for only $0.44 per dozen.

This allows families to generate larger incomes selling to local grocers or to local outdoor markets, while supplying their household with proper nutrition of fresh and nutritional produce.

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A vegetable garden in the square in front of the train station in Ezhou, China
Some community urban farms can be quite efficient and help women find work, who in some cases are marginalized from finding employment in the formal economy.[25] Studies have shown that participation from women have a higher production rate, therefore producing the adequate amount for household consumption while supplying more for market sale.

As most UA activities are conducted on vacant municipal land, there have been rising concerns about the allocation of land and property rights. The IDRC and the FAO have published the Guidelines for Municipal Policymaking on Urban Agriculture, and are working with municipal governments to create successful policy measures that can be incorporated in urban planning.


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