Urban farming

It’s increasingly common to hear about food production in the city. Throughout the world, people in the city are turning under-used urban land into highly productive  farms. This is discussed in a recent paper in Geoforum by Foeken and Owuor (2008, issue 6). They draw attention to the importance of urban (and rural) farming in a small town in Kenya. Beyond academe, urban farms in Cuba and even New York City have captured the media’s attention. And we all know that allotments have made a big comeback, not least in and around County Kildare. Even the White House has gone rural! And indeed this is one of the interesting aspects of urban farming: the fact that it subverts our everyday understandings of what urban and rural mean. For most people, no doubt, rural might equal agriculture. Fair enough. But now urban increasingly equals agriculture, too. Meanwhile, it’s easy enough to find lots of ways that so-called urban phenomena (noise, smells, pollution, crime, poverty) are found throughout rural areas. It sounds dull and an awful lot like waffle, but what we mean by ‘rural’ or ‘urban’ is socially constructed.

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One comment

  1. Mark Farrelly · · Reply

    It’s interesting how the two are beginning to collide. In English we studied what was there before gender or sex?ie. before ‘homosexuality’ became a word there was no such thing as ‘hetrosexuality’. They same can be said for ‘urban’ and ‘rural’. Before towns and cities began to be developed the whole world surely would not have been regarded as rural? Due to globalisation, urbanisation, and all the other ‘isations’ I think we definitly have to start rethinking our percerptions of ‘urban’ and ‘rural’.

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