Allotments and urban farming: a new study

“The benefits community food growing brings to an area, including increasing access to nutritious food, boosting biodiversity and creating community cohesion.”

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A citizen science project by the University of Sussex has found that urban growers in Brighton and Hove were able to harvest 1kg of insect-pollinated fruit and vegetables per one metre square, which is within the range of conventional farming.

Whitehawk allotment in Brighton, UK. Credit: Beth Nicholls

City allotments match farming productivity per square metre | sussex.ac.uk

Allotment holders were told to ‘dig for victory’ during the Second World War to help the country feed itself. Now they could help reduce reliance on imports in an eco-friendly way, according to research that shows allotments are just as productive as farms while using fewer toxic chemicals.

Allotments produce as much food as a farm – and could help reduce our reliance on imports, study finds | dailymail.co.uk

The project, which analysed the yields of 34 “citizen scientists” growing fruit and vegetables on their allotments, gardens and balconies, found that despite limited pesticide use they were each able to grow an average of £550 worth of produce between March and October.

City allotments could be as productive as conventional farms, research finds | guardian.com

Dr Beth Nicholls, who led the study,

“In a world of increasing urbanisation in both the developing and developed worlds, producing food in and around cities has the potential to improve both nutritional and health outcomes, alleviate poverty and simultaneously provide habitat for wildlife and create sustainable cities.”

Ren Piercey, Good to Grow, said

“During the height of the pandemic, community food growers already showed they were able to play a meaningful part in meeting the food supply demand in their local areas. It’s great to see this kind of research being undertaken as it validates the plethora of benefits community food growing brings to an area, including increasing access to nutritious food, boosting biodiversity and creating community cohesion.”

New research finds urban allotments could be as productive as farms | sustainweb.org

   
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