Farming the City: The Broken Promise of Urban Agriculture
Several decades of research on ‘urban agriculture’ have led to markedly different conclusions about the actual and potential role of household food production in African cities. In the context of rapid urbanization, urban agriculture is, once again, being advocated as a means to mitigate the growing food insecurity of the urban poor. This chapter examines the contemporary importance of household food production in poor urban communities in eleven different Southern African Development Community (SADC) cities. The chapter draws on research data generated by the African Food Security Urban Network (AFSUN) on household food security in these cities. The results show that urban food production is not particularly significant in most communities and that many more households rely on supermarkets and the informal sector to access food. Even fewer households derive income from the sale of produce. This picture varies considerably, however, from city to city, for reasons that require further research and explanation.