Urban Agriculture in Kingston: Present and Future Potential for Re-localization and Sustainability

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Lam, Sun On
urban agriculture , sustainability , food systems , local food , triangulation
Urbanization and the globalization of the food system are causing social, environmental, economic and political problems worldwide. Rapid urbanization is increasing environmental degradation and food insecurity. Urban agriculture is one tool for sustainable development that has the potential to provide food or related services within or on the edges of urban areas. The goal of this research was to determine the current situation and the future potential of urban agriculture in Kingston. A literature review, questionnaires, interviews and case studies were used to determine the perceptions of relevant stakeholders, barriers and ways to overcome those barriers. Conservative estimates of urban agriculture's value to Kingston's environmental, social, community health, food security and economic dimensions were made through modeling. Study participants demonstrated a relatively greater awareness of environmental and community benefits of urban agriculture compared to food security, health or economic benefits. Modeling and calculations indicated that urban agriculture could contribute at least $190 to $860 million per year in positive environmental, health and economic benefits. Modeling indicated that sourcing more local urban produced foods could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 1300 to 14000 tonnes annually for 39 common fresh fruits and vegetables. Urban agriculture could meet the fresh fruits and vegetables needs of up to 76% or more of the Kingston CMA population. There appeared to be 5600 ha of area in the inner-city that could be used for food production. Major challenges identified were perceptions of limited space, limited resources and education. Recommendations to address these challenges are also provided. Overall, urban agriculture has potential to contribute to sustainability in Kingston.
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