At a time when urban agriculture is being advocated in North American cities as a path to sustainable living, it’s good to be reminded of the dangers of automatically applying our solutions worldwide with a broad brush dipped in Western values. We can not stand in judgement or hope to be of any assistance to others without a deep understanding and respect for the unique challenges other countries and societies face:
“Takawira Mubvami, a scientific programme co-ordinator with Municipal Development Programme (MDP) said ….urban agriculture (is) being practised ‘willy-nilly’ causing environmental degradation and pollution. ‘It
is difficult to stop because of urban poverty but as an organisation we are advocating for sustainable urban agriculture policies,’ said Mubvami.
A study by the Environmental and Development Studies (ENDA-Zimbabwe) three years ago also noted that urban agriculture posed a serious threat to the urban environment.
‘All sites (visited areas) had unacceptable levels of erosion. In addition, almost 90 percent of Harare’s farmers use chemical fertilisers and nearly a third of ‘off-plot’ cultivation takes place near streams, swamps – leading to water pollution through runoff and leaching,’ said the study.”
Don’t get me wrong — I’m a strong advocate of *sustainable* urban agriculture. It’s just good to be reminded of the importance of humility in seeking solutions to a better world.
More on urban agriculture: