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Urban farming providing for local communities 24/06/2017

Last week I discussed the rise of urban forestry as a means to building greener cities to achieve health and environmental benefits.

Last week I discussed the rise of urban forestry as a means to building greener cities to achieve health and environmental benefits.

Along the same theme, the concept of urban farming in cities is a growing trend that can improve sustainability, productivity and the ability for people to source more local produce.

Urban farming is the practice of growing food in urban areas such as on rooftops, vertical gardens and in community gardens. From small scale, vertical gardens in your apartment to larger scale operations, there have been numerous innovations in urban farming in recent years that allow urban gardening systems to be installed in homes and commercial buildings. Importantly, these use less water, power and particularly space, than traditional farming.

Mohamed Hage is the founder of Lufa Farms based in Montreal, Canada. He designs, builds and operates rooftop agricultural greenhouses that provide produce to locals in the city.

Mr Hage said in a 2012 TEDx talk that his greenhouses fed up to 2000 people in Montreal with vegetables delivered to customers on the same day they are harvested.

He touched on the community aspect of urban farming and how the act of growing and sourcing food locally brings people together.

In this respect, an increasing number of community gardens are emerging right here in Perth.

One of the best known local examples is the East Perth City Farm which incorporates a community garden as well as community arts and a cafe along with the popular weekend farmers market. Fremantle is also home to several well-established urban farms including FERN community garden and APACE.

Community gardens are emerging as an important aspect of new urban areas, with recent UDIA EnviroDevelopment certified projects such as Allara Estate in Eglington including a community garden and Rosehill Waters in South Guildford initiating a community orchard.

The gardens form an important aspect of the local area that not only have the potential to provide local produce but also educate residents about sustainable living and improve the overall sustainability of the development.

To play your part in the urban farming phenomenon, it doesn’t have to be a large operation. there are products out there that allow small vertical gardens in your home that are virtually mess free and can be set up to be watered or fertilised at the press of a button.

On a larger scale, UDIA would like to see more use of rooftops and public open spaces for urban farming and growing local produce for local communities, thereby making our city more sustainable.

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