Urban Farming? Why Do we care?
Here are examples of the most innovative technologies used in Urban Farming
"Are you wondering “what is aquaponics?” The most simple definition is that it is the marriage of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (the soil-less growing of plants) that grows fish and plants together in one integrated system. The fish waste provides an organic food source for the growing plants and the plants provide a natural filter for the water the fish live in. The third participants are the microbes (nitrifying bacteria) and composting red worms that thrive in the growing media. They do the job of converting the ammonia from the fish waste first into nitrites, then into nitrates and the solids into vermicompost that that are food for the plants.In combining both systems aquaponics capitalizes on the benefits and eliminates the drawbacks of each"
The diagram above explains that the core/traditional activities of Urban farming include “production, processing, marketing, distribution and consumption”, yet they its sphere of influence goes beyond its core activities into benefiting society in various ways. This includes, initiatives such as landscape beautification introduced by The Greening of Detroit where abandoned lots were turned into farming areas where wildflowers, shrubs, and trees were sold. Other benefits include education, most of community held UF’s also include teaching their neighborhoods about the art of farming, and simultaneously in the process simultaneously promotes community spirit and personal well-being.
Direct Value Creation
Today’s consumer demands locality, and the agricultural industry is in general experiencing a return to traditional ways of purchasing. A study conducted in the US by Rushing & Ruehle (2013) shows that people are willing to pay premium prices for local foods, across cultures and social status. This “local food movement” shows that there has been a growing interest in buying directly from the farmers. Furthermore, as the world is becoming increasingly globalized, and people have easier access to travelling, many individuals expect exotic produce with the best quality. (International Markets Bureau,2011). Urban farming creates value through targeting the needs discussed above.
In agriculture, the direct production of premium quality is synonym of the maturity of the product at consumption. Nowadays, in the industrialized agricultural system their supply chain works in the way that they harvest their products before they ripe in order to keep as much nutrients as possible before they reach its consumer(Lamikanra,2002).
On average, food travels 1500 miles before it gets finally eaten (Worldwatch Institute) During distribution, the fruits mature to a minimum level which will attract the consumer at the point of sale. However, with UF it will enable the supply chain to decrease immensely, and in the process make it easier to distribute fruits that ripe in matter of days rather than weeks. This will create more value in the consumer, and more benefits to the society by increasing the mineral and nutrient value of produce. (Midmore&Jansen,2013). Furthermore, as (Mattson 2003) claimed, positive sensory attribute will depend on three aspects. Those include the conditions where the product was grown, the variety grown, and how they are managed before harvested. For non-climacteric fruits (most of the leafy greens), even after harvest they keep breathing and therefore burn carbohydrates to create energy and in the process loses its water to the environment(Hedin,2015). The loss of water contributes in a decrease of enjoyable texture and feel during consumption. Throughout this process, lipids, acids, and carbohydrates are lost to create energy. This loss is what contributes the aroma, appearance, color, and taste of fruits and legumes, therefore the more time it takes after harvest before it gets eaten, the less premium quality it will have.