Benefits of Urban Agriculture
Urban agriculture has been receiving a lot of attention for the ways in which it is changing the food systems of modern societies. In most Western countries, about 80% of the population will live in or around metropolitan areas. However, the majority of the farmland is far off in the more rural areas of the country. This creates a situation where most of the food is grown in locations that are increasingly remote from the larger portions of the population.
While this system has been the standard for some time, the problems with this model are becoming increasingly apparent. Food that has to be trucked in or transported on an airplane will not be as fresh and it comes at an increased cost due the rising prices of fuel. Additionally, the entire chain has a larger carbon footprint because of all of the fuel that is being consumed for the hefty logistics operation that is required to maintain such a system.
To address these concerns, many of the business that need fresh produce are turning to urban agriculture. With different urban agriculture systems, businesses can save on energy and water, grow food that is healthier, gain access to food that is fresher and increase the marketability of their product – all while making the best and most efficient use of the available space.
This model can actually work well for small and large businesses. As an example, consider the operation of a juice bar. When a consumer goes to a juice bar, they expect healthy drinks with the freshest ingredients. If the business owner goes through a traditional supply system, then they are going to get a product that is not as fresh, but if they go the urban agriculture route, they will have fresher ingredients that will be more pleasing to the customer.
Furthermore, this can play into the marketing message of the business. The modern consumer is much more aware and concerned about the impact of their purchasing choices. If the customer knows that you are using an urban agriculture system to meet your supply needs, then they will also know that your ingredients are having less of an impact on the environment.
Along with providing a fresher product and being a model that is better for the environment, the urban agriculture systems offer a supply chain that is more secure. In this age of changing climates, the outcomes for different conventional farming methods can be very uncertain. Unpredictable rains and varying temperatures can hurt a harvest, causing an increase in cost or a shortage in the supply, but with urban agriculture, the conditions are much more controlled and less likely to be affected by these circumstances.
If your business operates in an urban center, it does not matter whether it is a produce market, a juice bar or a restaurant, if you need fresh produce, then this is an opportunity that you have to consider. Not only can it reduce your costs and help to protect the environment, but it can also play an important role in your marketing strategy. While there is a lot to consider when it comes to using an urban agriculture system, it can be one of the most beneficial business decisions that you make if the move is implemented properly.