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3. The challenges of deploying urban agriculture

The challenges of deploying urban agriculture

Mathilde Martin-Moreau and David Ménascé
p. 92-93

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1Deploying urban agriculture depends above all on the initiative of companies, startups and non-profit organizations, but also on support from the public authorities, particularly local government authorities. At the same time, work is needed to raise consumer awareness of these new production methods and to train urban farmers to create quality supply chains.

Commitment from local stakeholders

2Whether led by a startup or a large company, any urban agriculture project, when scaling up, must rely on the commitment of all local stakeholders.

3In Singapore, the startup Edible Garden City, specialized in urban market gardens, benefited from the support of local government in a public-private partnership that facilitated access to disused spaces and the easing of regulations. Its aim is to improve the island city-state’s food self-sufficiency, given that 90% of food is currently imported.

4For Veolia, the pilot projects undertaken in Lille and Brussels, in connection with non-profits and social enterprises, are making it possible to formulate a new offer for cities and regions that integrate urban agriculture solutions with the Group’s core businesses.

Guaranteeing product quality and raising consumer awareness

5Successful deployment of urban agriculture depends both on the assessment of risk and the management of farmers’ practices, so as to ensure an offer of quality products to final consumers. In the northern and southern hemispheres alike, urban crops are exposed to different types of pollution, linked to production methods, air and soil quality, and the properties of the plants themselves. The research programs carried out by AgroParisTech and INRA on urban farms in the Paris area, and joint projects between France and Madagascar on the water-cress production chain in Antananarivo, helped in the creation of new tools for managing health risks. They also highlighted the crucial role of consumer awareness in creating urban food streams that are both prosperous and clean.

Promoting urban agriculture methods and making products more accessible

6To encourage the scaling-up of new farming models, the social enterprise Open Team developed an original method for sharing expertise through online tools and on-site training, teaming an experienced entrepreneur with student replicators. An initial program was implemented in Nepal, with possibilities for promising replications in urban settings.

7By developing accessible technology capable of transforming a simple city-dweller into an urban cultivator, the startup Agricool intends to deploy its container strawberry production model all over the world. Using hydroponic technology and the automation of complex processes, these ultra-local strawberries can be produced all year round in the middle of cities.

8Lastly, democratizing access to products obtained from urban agriculture requires the involvement of the key agri-foods players as distributors, such as Monoprix in the case of Agricool strawberries, or true partners. For example, collaboration between wholesaler METRO and the startup Infarm resulted in the largest indoor urban vegetable garden in Europe, inside METRO’s depot in Nanterre.

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Bibliographical reference

Mathilde Martin-Moreau and David Ménascé, « The challenges of deploying urban agriculture », Field Actions Science Reports, Special Issue 20 | 2019, 92-93.

Electronic reference

Mathilde Martin-Moreau and David Ménascé, « The challenges of deploying urban agriculture », Field Actions Science Reports [Online], Special Issue 20 | 2019, Online since 24 September 2019, connection on 11 April 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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