Habitat III, the UN’s conference on cities this coming October will explore urban agriculture as a solution to food security, but here in New York City, it has shown potential for much more.
Infrared thermometer in hand, Nelson Pérez checks the water temperature in the trays where dozens of small lettuce plants are growing in a nutrient-rich liquid in this vertical farm in Panama.
It is harvest season in Zimbabwe and Janet Zondo is pressed to find space on the piece of land she is farming to erect a makeshift granary. Zando says she could very well build a miniature silo, judging by the size of the maize crop that she is preparing to harvest.
“The people are the only thing that matters,” says agronomist Miguel Ángel Salcines, who then goes on to list a series of other “secondary” factors that have turned Vivero Alamar, an urban farm on the outskirts of the Cuban capital, into a rare success story in the country’s depressed agricultural sector.
With little more than a bush knife and an axe between them, a group of young boys between the ages of nine and 18 years have taken food security into their own hands. In Kindu, a community of 5,000 people in the coastal urban area of Munda in the Solomon Islands, these boys, who have been abandoned by their parents, have transformed their lives by establishing a cooperatively run farm.
In the coming decades, the world's population is expected to grow by at least another two billion people, 80 percent of whom will live in cities by the year 2050.