According to the Population Reference Bureau, since 2008 more than half of the total global population lives in urban areas. What does this mean for farmers and the food industry? It means that as cities expand, farmland is receding farther away from the markets that supply the city consumers. In effect, the food has to travel longer distances, which increases their cost and environmental impact. However, there is good news for those with a green thumb (or pinky!) and creative mind (here are some examples we’ve written about previously).
The amount of rooftop space available to potentially grow veggies is tremendous. In China, for example, “there is nearly 2.5 million acres of available rooftop — and counting.” In spite of the pollution problems that often result in these heavily populated areas, a study published recently in Agronomy for Sustainable Development found that in vegetables grown in the hydroponic gardens in the city of Guangzhou, China, the pollutants were low and insecticide residues were absent.