Urban farming faces similar challenges as traditional farming models

Traditionally, farming has been done in rural areas carried out by families that have been in the industry for generations.

But what about agriculture in the city? Does urban farming have a place in feeding the world and contributing to providing consumers with locally produced food within the city limits? According to Yari Nagi of Agritecture that answer is simply yes as she told the crowd at the Bayer Agvocacy Forum this week in Orlando, Florida.

Agitecture started as a blog but has developed into much more, focused on a wide range of global and local urban agriculture news, including topics such as: greenhouse production, vertical farming, aquaponics, hydroponics, regenerative agriculture, ag-tech, and food systems more broadly.

Ironically, just like traditional crop production, urban farming systems struggle with some of the same challenges like operating costs, financing, and regulatory barriers.

Nagi says urban farming in general has a lack of financial support to keep running. According to Nagi, 42 per cent of the operational costs go to utilities. In terms of funding, due to the lack of traditional funding support, private funding is very critical.

As far as profitability, there are urban farms that are making money. Some of the vertical farms are seeing a profit by year seven and, in some specific cases, based on the strong support of members of the community, the payoff is in three years; however, Nagi notes that not every farm is the same and results vary.

The concept of indoor urban farming seems closer to “factory farming” than broadacre versions of growing but Nagi does not see it as a negative.  In countries like Japan, urban farms have embraced the term factory faming.

Hear RealAgriculture’s Shaun Haney’s entire discussion with Yara Nagi of Agritecture by listening to the audio below.  

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