Urban Gardening Under Threat in Africa

Urban gardening is sprouting to life across America, but urban locales in the developing world "have incorporated horticulture into their urban planning" for decades. In Africa, urbanization is threatening these essential parts of the food system.
September 4, 2012, 6am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Michaeleen Doucleff reports on findings noted in a survey published last week by the Food and Agriculture Organization, which concludes that urban farming is at risk in many African cities, where up to 50% of families grow food to eat and sell.

Although urban farming comes in a variety of forms and scales in African cities, "the survey finds that one type of urban farming trumps all others when it came to feeding the most people: 'market gardening,' or farming on commercially-owned and irrigated lots in cities."

"Market gardens are 'one of the most productive farming systems in Africa,' the report says. They produce almost all leafy vegetables eaten in five of Africa's largest cities, where 22 million people reside," notes Doucleff. "Market gardens also generate local employment, create urban green belts and can even recycle city waste."

"But the FAO says market gardens are the most threatened by Africa's growth spurt since they're not typically regulated or supported by governments. Many of them operate on 'fuzzy,' or illegal terms, and could lose their right to farm anytime."

"Local governments need to nurture and protect these urban gardens, the report says."

 

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Published on Friday, August 31, 2012 in NPR
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