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Agriculture in urban planning: Generating livelihoods and food security

Edited by Mark Redwood
Published by Earthscan
Website: www.earthscan.co.uk
2009, 248pp, ISBN 978 1 84407 668 0(Hb), £65.00

In many countries, urban agriculture is illegal or has been ignored by city authorities, but attitudes are changing and acceptance is growing. With one-in-six people on the planet now living in an urban slum, access to land and water is scarce but, for many of them, food production is still important. Using case studies from Ghana, Senegal, Malawi, Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo, Peru and Argentina, Agriculture in urban planning investigates the contribution of urban agriculture to livelihoods and food security. Specific issues covered include public health and the impact of pollution and water contamination on food production, urban composting, urban planning, and strategies for integrating agriculture into urban areas.

One of the issues the authors pay close attention to is wastewater. Researchers discovered that in the absence of safe water, and because of its high nutrient content, wastewater is highly valued by farmers. However, many farmers are unaware of the potential environmental and health risks. In the Peruvian capital Lima, for example, mining and the dumping of waste into rivers is contaminating produce grown in the basin. Therefore in exploring the use of wastewater, the authors suggest that because economic benefits are of primary importance, while policies must promote hygiene, they must also increase profitability. Methods of nutrient recycling and reusing liquid and solid wastes are also examined.

Designed to encourage farmers, politicians, environmentalists and regulatory bodies to recognise the potential of urban agriculture, Agriculture in urban planning demonstrates that, despite the potential environmental and health impacts, it is a viable economic activity that can help to address poverty and food security.

Date published: May 2009

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