Notes to broadcasters on urban agriculture

    | October 13, 2008

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    There’s no doubt that the practice of urban agriculture is growing, encouraged by factors such as increased migration to cities and the rising cost of food. Studies consistently show that more and more people rely on food grown in cities. You can read more about this trend in these past FRW news stories:
    -“Wastewater in urban agriculture is harmful to health, but it also ensures subsistence for urban poor,” (Issue #34, August 2008)
    -“Urban agriculture provides relief from high food prices,” (Issue #23, June 2008)

    Your listeners may appreciate more information on how to produce food in urban areas, or other locations where arable land is unavailable or very limited. More information can be found through the following:
    -The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research provides an online course about urban agriculture:
    -Many techniques for producing maximum yields in a small area are described in the Wikipedia entry on biointensive agriculture:
    -The Canadian NGO Alternatives provides details on several soil-less gardening techniques:
    -Farm Radio International has produced a number of scripts on Urban Agriculture, many of which offer suggestions for growing food in small spaces:

    Finally, here are some ideas for a call-in/text-in show to further explore this issue. These will be especially relevant if you broadcast to an urban area, but may also interest rural audiences who must make the best use of small plots:
    -Have any members of your audience started growing food (or growing more food) in response to rising food prices? What materials did they use to get started? What difficulties did they face and how did they overcome them?
    -Have members of your audience grown food in an urban area, or a very small plot in a rural area, for some time? How much food do they produce and what impact does this have on their family’s food security? What materials (such as organic fertilizer or planters) do they use to make food growing possible in very small spaces? Which crops grow best with the space and resources they have available? What tips or innovations can they share?