Urban land could grow fruit and veg for 15% of the population in Sheffield.
A study by academics at the Institute for Sustainable Food, University of Sheffield shows that cities could potentially be self-sustaining. The results of the investigation showed that there is enough urban land available in cities to meet the fruit and veg demand for their population.
The research was based on the city of Sheffield and showed that the city had plenty of ‘untapped urban horticulture potential’. As the fifth largest city in the UK, the Steel City could possibly feed approximately 709,000 people per year, all five of the recommended ‘five a day’. Self-sustaining via urban farming could be made possible by using the green spaces within the city, that currently cover approximately 45% of Sheffield. A whopping amount of land which includes parks, gardens, allotments, roadside verges and woodland.
The study also looked at a more realistic statistic of using just 10% of the available green space. If the city were to use this for fruit and veg, it would be possible to feed 15% of the local population, potentially even combating issues such as food poverty.
In a world where we seem to look further afield for our entertainment (whether that is travel, food or film), it’s nice to start looking closer at how communities can help each other, as well as finally making God’s own country self-sufficient. Yorkshire independence, anyone?
The study also looked at other means of farming such as soil-free farming on flat roofs by using hydroponics- plants can be grown in a ‘nutrient solution’, as well as aquaponics, ‘a system combining fish and plants’ – both of which would allow ‘year-round cultivation’.
The investigation shows promise of a time where we can bring food sources closer to communities. The study comes at a time where community projects are being to take off again, with many cities and towns focusing on using local produce, particularly in bars and restaurants. Additionally, with food shortages across the country amid a stockpiling crisis due to the Coronavirus pandemic, community growing could help relieve the pressure from supermarkets, and amplify the use of local businesses.
Source: Sheffield University