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City Conversations: Urban Agriculture - Cultivating Value in City Food Production

Tue 30 Apr 2019

Tuesday 30 April 2019, 6.30pm - 8.30pm

A city the size of London will never be able to grow enough food to feed itself. The big market gardens to the west of London have given way to reservoirs, airports and roads and there is competition for space way beyond the green belt. We still like to encourage the myth of sustainable self-sufficiency, but allotments are no longer ‘dig for victory’ plots even though they still command special protection. It can be argued that they serve a much wider social function than just producing food.

The educational value in urban agriculture can introduce young and old to the fundamentals of producing food in a sustainable way: understanding seasons, freshness, soil irrigation and waste. From an environmental perspective, the closer the food is to where it is consumed the better. 

The Dutch, for example, have models for high density farming close to cities. New systems of hydroponic and vertical farming are more efficient and productive but may not have the same educational value. Should we be making more space for these? Should we pay more attention to food sourcing, logistics and waste when planning neighbourhoods? How can we encourage more urban agriculture as an educational and recreational activity as well as a high density modern business?

Panelists include:

- Trevor Curson, BuroHappold Engineering (Chairing)
- Tom Webster, CTO, GrowUp Urban Farms 
- Anita Gracie, Barnet Allotment Federation
- Alicia Pivaro, Urban Gardening Activist
- Anna Webster, Interrobang
- James Hobson, BuroHappold Engineering

This event is free to attend, but booking is essential. 



“City Conversations” is a series of informative thought-leadership discussions around the big issues that are changing our cities - growth, technology, resource efficiency and climate change. The conversations will address not only the new and changing infrastructure of cities but also how these are brought about and their impact on the lifestyle and wellbeing of citizens. They are produced by The Happold Foundation and ngenuity with support from the Built Environment Trust.


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