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1. New agricultural purposes in the city

New agricultural purposes in the city

Mathilde Martin-Moreau and David Ménascé
p. 4-5

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1Arising where individual practices meet private initiatives and reflections on urban policy, the revival in urban agriculture serves multiple causes, from strengthening links between the city and nature to creating new urban development models, via reinventing food production systems.

Reintegrating nature into the city

2In response to urban dwellers’ aspirations, urban agriculture is calling upon ancient practices to reintroduce natural and productive spaces into the city, to bring the rural and urban ways of life closer together, and recreate the social link. In particular, the current surge that cities are experiencing in shared gardening, and the individual and collective composting studied by the researchers Marjorie Tendero and Carola Guyot-Phung, are contributing to this dynamic, while also offering new outlets for organic waste. Architecture and urbanism also play a central role in repairing the links between city and country, embodied by Anthony Bechu architectural firm’s approach, inspired by biomimicry and the circular economy.

Strengthening urban food production systems

3Since the end of the 19th century, the expansion of the agro-industrial productivist model has contributed to distancing the city from the agricultural areas that feed its inhabitants. But now cities are retaking control of their food provision and inventing new economic models. Facing the limits of conventional agriculture and the challenges of massive urbanization and climate change, urban stakeholders are reclaiming the idea of food, notably by reinventing practices in urban agriculture, as Nicolas Bricas and Damien Conaré from the UNESCO Chair in World Food Systems demonstrate.

Renewing urban development

4Urban and peri-urban agriculture was identified as a real development tool as far back as the 1990s. Its potential has even been recognized by international organizations such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). On this basis, the example of the urban areas of Jakarta, Indonesia, and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, demonstrate the importance of agriculture in the large conurbations of the southern hemisphere, contributing both to the livelihood of their inhabitants and to the resilience of urban systems in the face of economic, social and environmental crises. The inclusive agriculture program of the city of Quito, Ecuador, provides autonomy to vulnerable populations through food security and access to new sources of revenue, credit and employment. In the North as in the South, from Toronto, Canada, to Antananarivo, Madagascar, the multiple environmental benefits of urban agriculture have been widely documented by the RUAF Foundation. Short supply circuits, reduction of heat islands, carbon capture and the infiltration of rainwater are just some of the services agriculture provides to the urban environment.

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Bibliographical reference

Mathilde Martin-Moreau and David Ménascé, « New agricultural purposes in the city », Field Actions Science Reports, Special Issue 20 | 2019, 4-5.

Electronic reference

Mathilde Martin-Moreau and David Ménascé, « New agricultural purposes in the city », Field Actions Science Reports [Online], Special Issue 20 | 2019, Online since 24 September 2019, connection on 04 March 2021. URL :

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About the authors

Mathilde Martin-Moreau

Archipel&Co., Coordinator

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David Ménascé

Archipel&Co., Coordinator

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