The corona pandemic has put the spotlight on urban farming as a potential sustainable solution to cities’ over-dependence on overlong, international food chains vulnerable to shocks, and as a potential solution to sustain the economic resilience (access to food) and social resilience of vulnerable neighbourhoods and groups during external shocks.
Building urban resilience through urban agriculture? Different responses to the pandemic and sustainability crises by high- and low-tech urban farms in the Rotterdam-The Hague Metropolis across a high- and 'low'-tech spectrum will study how concrete Urban Agriculture (UA) initiatives contribute to resilience.
The study gathers insights from initiatives such as longstanding garden associations and new forms of UA such as rooftop farms, as well as high tech initiatives using advanced technologies to establish intensive, closed-loop agricultural production in urban areas, in the form of so-called indoor or vertical farms.
While ground-based, open air initiatives are often characterized as 'low-tech', it is worth noting that these initiatives might entail various technological or other innovations in cultivation practices, organization, etc. By examining the experience of a wide variety of UA initiatives during the pandemic, we hope to gain further insights into the possibilities and limits of UA amidst crises.
Key questions include whether UA has allowed urbanites to ensure continued access to affordable food, and supporting social networks, or whether UA itself has been detrimentally affected by the corona pandemic? And, what are the longer-term effects of the corona pandemic on urban agriculture, and UA's role in increasing urban resilience of particularly the more vulnerable urban citizens?