Feeding a mega city

Berlin Allotment

Mega cities are growing at an exponential rate.

Over the last twenty years urban populations have been increasing by over three million people per week. That’s equivalent to creating a new Boston, every working day somewhere in the world. United Nation projections suggest that the number of citizens living in mega cities will double from 3.3 billion inhabitants in 2007 to a staggering 6.4 billion by 2050.

But you don’t have to be a statistician, politician or scientist to realize that food production, fresh water supply and climate change are going to create major logistical issues for burgeoning urban conurbations.

Tokyo Skytree, Sumida, Japan
Tokyo Skytree, Sumida, Japan

And yet as much as 50% of our global food production is being wasted by poor distribution, inadequate storage or failing to meet the exacting appearance standards required of our major supermarkets. And we’ve lost connection with how food is produced with much of what we eat being transported further than ever.

Ripping up vacant tarmacadam car parks and street corner plots in one innovative solution to cultivating our cities. Another new approach is vertical farming which is making upwards progress in meeting our increasing urban food dependencies.

But what is vitally needed is major visionary planning and policy to integrate urban farming permanently into green urban infrastructure. Perhaps then we can generate our food in a sustainable, local and less wasteful manner?

Our ingenuity as an adaptive species to survive and thrive towards the next millennium depends upon it.