The Critical Need for Smart Agriculture for Truly Smarter Cities


New York City is also responding to the growing food systems crisis by taking a policy approach. Since establishing a digital database of existing urban ag organizations and businesses in the city, in 2021, NYC passed a bill to establish an Office of Urban Agriculture that will help promote food security, education, community development, environmental protection, and improved health and quality of life. New York City will also establish the Urban Agriculture Advisory Board to advise city leaders on urban agriculture-related issues. The NYC Parks GreenThumb provides programming and material support to community gardens, while Farms at NYCHA uses community gardens to improve health outcomes in 12 neighborhoods in NYC.

Dallas has most recently made the green transition with their newly established team of landscape architects, planners, and designers. Seeing that Texas’s household food insecurity rate is 18.4 per cent, and over 27 per cent of children under 18 in Dallas live in households that have experienced food insecurity in the past year, the City of Dallas is working with Agritecture to adopt urban agriculture master planning techniques. They emphasize ecosystem restoration and urban agriculture strategies such as public agriculture (food forests, community gardens, edible landscaping), urban agriculture (soil-based and hydroponics), and school agriculture programs.

While these are significant initiatives by cities to encourage innovation and urban agriculture production, few cities, if any, are using data-driven tactics to plan their urban agriculture projects to be as feasible and realistic as possible.

Putting in rooftops farms and community gardens may seem easy, but there is a lot of in-depth analyses that go into making each farm a success for the specific needs of users, the client, the community, and more.

In our 2021 Global CEA Census, we found that 41 per cent of respondents (CEA growers) had no prior experience in agriculture before starting their business, while only 7 per cent had previously started another agricultural business.

Because of this lack of experience, we see enchanting futuristic vertical farming concepts making cities green. But, is this what the world really needs – designs backed up with little data to prove that they’re financially viable or that they can, in truth, even feed their community?

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