Food Security, Nutrition and Health

In many cities in the world (especially but not exclusively in developing countries) poverty and food insecurity is rapidly increasing. For many urban poor producing their own food in back yards, community gardens and on public or private land is an important survival strategy. But other (intra- and peri-) urban farmers also produce fresh vegetables, herbs, fruits, eggs, milk, meat, fish and other products for the quickly growing urban market. In many cities a substantial part of the urban food demand, and especially that in perishable products, is covered by farmers in the intra- and peri-urban areas. 

Strengthening urban agriculture is an important strategy to enhance access of the urban poor to fresh and nutritious food and improve the nutrition of important categories of the urban population.   

Like rural agriculture, urban agriculture entails some risks to human health if not managed and carried out properly. Such health risks include contamination of crops with pathogens, residues of agrochemicals or heavy metals from contaminated soils, air or water and human diseases transferred by mosquitos attracted by agriculture or from domestic animals to people (zoonosis). It is essential to address the health risks associated with urban agriculture to protect consumers from contaminated foods and farm workers from occupational hazards whilst reaping the benefits of urban agriculture for urban food security, nutrition and other benefits of urban agriculture for sustainable urban development 

For an extensive introduction and review of literature on the food security and nutrition aspects of (intra- and peri-) urban agriculture please go to State of the Art paper on Food security/nutrition.

For an extensive introduction and review of literature on the management of health risks associated with (intra- and peri-) urban agriculture please go to State of the Art paper on Management Health risks.

Go to RUAF publications for an overview of RUAF publications on this topic (most of which are available online). You may also view the articles in the Urban Agriculture Magazine on this topic or use the Search option.