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Growing In a Concrete Jungle: The Benefits of Urban Farming

Amid towering skyscrapers, bustling streets, and a constant hum of activity, an unexpected revolution is taking root in cities across the globe: urban agriculture. Urban spaces continue to expand and populations grow at an unprecedented rate. Alongside this, the concept of growing food within city limits has gained remarkable momentum. From vacant lots transformed into vibrant community gardens to rooftop farms perched atop high-rises, urban agriculture is redefining the relationship between cities and their inhabitants. In this article, we’ll look at the benefits of urban farming and how container farms can help return farming to where it belongs: close to people.

8 Benefits of Urban Farming

1. Proximity

One of the biggest problems with our current system of agriculture is that it is only possible with extended supply chains. While it may be best for some commercial food producers, your average farmer gets left behind. Because of these long supply chains, concessions must be made, and too often food quality is sacrificed for convenience. Farmers must harvest crops before they’re fully grown because they have a long journey before making it onto someone’s plate. If urban farmers received community support, crops meant for urban consumption wouldn’t be grown thousands of miles away, necessitating costly and nutrient-draining transport.

Instead, they would be located inside city centers and populated areas, so they’re closer to their consumers than field farms. This leads to more farm-to-table produce, meaning that customers can buy food directly from farmers. That means higher levels of freshness, and higher customer satisfaction because they know where their produce comes from.

2. Urban Farming is Accessible

Urban farms can help increase food security by providing inexpensive, fresh produce to low-income communities. In 2021, more than 34 million people, including children were food insecure in the United States. Food insecurity is defined by Feeding America as the consistent lack of food to have a healthy life because of an economic situation.

Being in the heart of the community means transportation doesn’t have to be a major factor in the cost of the produce. That results in cheaper and more accessible food for the people who live near the farm.

A worker working on an urban farm. He's wearing high-visibility clothing.
Urban farming provides many social benefits to communities. For one, it provides a sustainable solution to the growing concerns of food security and food deserts.

3. It’s Adaptable

Urban farms can be opened in spare rooms, backyards, rooftops, warehouses, shipping containers and in a variety of other spaces. This cuts the need for purchasing and building on new land by repurposing indoor and outdoor spaces. Urban farms can bring the entire community together, creating jobs and volunteer opportunities that help people build new skills.

4. Urban Farming is Low-Risk

Urban farming allows you to start small by using space you already own. This is a huge advantage because purchasing land or buildings big enough for large-scale operations is expensive. Not having a huge financial burden on your shoulders from the start lets you work on your urban farm without the pressure of bankruptcy. As a result, you have more freedom to experiment with systems and crops to find what works best for your urban farm.

5. It Builds Community

Another one of the benefits of urban farming is it helps build strong communities by stimulating the economy and providing mutually beneficial experiences. Urban farms can be multifunctional by providing a space for social gathering, which enriches the ties between members of the community.

Community gardens have been shown to help during crises, leverage resources and foster social interaction between diverse groups of people. By transforming underutilized spaces into vibrant green oases, urban agriculture can play a vital role in ensuring that no community is left underserved.

6. Urban Farming Conserves Space

You can save space urban farming because you can use a variety of growing systems to cultivate crops. With more people on this planet than ever before, space is getting less accessible for people across the world. The food demands of the world are only rising. How can we better utilize the space we’re already using?

Vertical and hydroponic technology allow urban farms to grow high volumes of plants without the sprawling land that field farming uses. Vertical farms grow more per square foot because plants are grown in stacks. Meanwhile, hydroponically grown crops don’t use soil. As a result, crops can be planted closer together, fitting more crops in a smaller space. Overall, urban farms can be more compact than traditional farms.

A top-down view of a farm. The different farm plots are seperated by greenery.
Urban agriculture bridges the gap between rural farms and urban populations, reducing the dependence on distant supply chains and increasing access to food options.

7. It Can Boost Property Value

Urban farms can also positively impact the value of the surrounding neighborhood, especially if the neighborhood is poor. Studies have found that property values increased when there was a community garden nearby. When this happens, people are more likely to purchase homes and move into the area. One study found that over a 10-year period in St. Louis, Missouri, home ownership in neighborhoods with a community garden increased by 13%.

8. It Feeds Local Demand

Nielsen research found that 48% of consumers prefer locally produced ingredients and food. Urban farms help supply this demand.  In urban farming, the farmer is more connected to the community they serve. That allows them to be more familiar with the needs of their community.

When planning crops, small farmers should identify unmet demand for certain produce in the local market. For instance, lettuce sold in Alaska will sell for a hefty profit because lettuce is not locally grown there traditionally. Urban farms make it easier to supply food that meets local demand.

How Container Farms Help Urban Farming

Container farms are a relatively new technology for urban farming. It houses hydroponic systems inside a secure shipping container. They come equipped with high powered climate control HVAC systems and grow lights to optimize plant growth. At Pure Greens, we transform containers into efficient produce factories. You can modify our systems to suit your specific needs.

Now that you know the benefits of urban farming, it might interest you to learn about how container farms can give farmers greater control over their growing operations. At Pure Greens, we offer a free consultation. Start by telling us about your project.