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Secondary Schools - Urban Farming and Gardening

Urban Farming and Gardening

Urban agriculture is the practice of cultivating, processing, and distributing food in or around a village, town, or city. Urban gardening or farming means growing plants wherever possible in towns and cities.

Urban Gardening

Urban Gardens help to:

  • Improved air cooling (protecting us from extreme heat)
  • Insulation of the buildings by garden vegetation
  • Improved air quality
  • Prevent flooding (storm water fall mitigation)
  • Provide important habitats for wildlife
  • Improve human health both psychologically and physically
  • Gardening eases stress and encourages exercise

Even if you only have a small space for planting, it can make a valuable difference. When you add all the space in the community together, in most cities our gardens account for about 25% of the land.

The RHS’s Science Review, Gardening matters: Urban gardens, provides a very interesting introduction to the world of urban gardening and includes recommendations and practical tips to kick start your urban gardening agenda. This review reveals the depth and range of benefits that gardens provide in urban areas, to read it please click here.

For books and websites with more information about Urban Gardening please click the relevant word.

Urban Farming

Urban farming involves making the food we eat as local, in season and fresh as possible. It also includes the many benefits and adds more greenery to cities.

  • Cuts down on the size of carbon footprint of food transportation
  • Turns urban wastes into a productive resource
  • Reducing harmful run off
  • Increases shading
  • Counters ‘heat island’ effect
  • Sequestration of CO2
  • Greater appreciation for where food comes from
  • Create a peaceful space
  • Provides physical/psychological relaxation
  • Turns derelict open spaces into green zones

Urban agriculture provides products that rural agriculture cannot supply easily (e.g. perishable products, products that require rapid delivery upon harvest), that can substitute for food imports and can release rural lands for export production of commodities.

For books and websites with more information about Urban Farming please click the relevant word.


Permaculture develops sustainable agriculture and self maintained agriculture systems modelled from natural ecosystems.

"Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labour; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system."
Bill Mollison, Co-developer of Permaculture.

Transition Movement

Transition Towns were founded upon the principles of permaculture. Transition movement aims to equip communities for the dual challenges of climate change and peak oil. It was created to raise awareness of sustainable living and build local ecological resilience in the near future.

Communities are encouraged to seek out methods for reducing energy usage as well as reducing their reliance on long supply chains that are totally dependent on fossil fuels for essential items.

Initiatives so far have included:

  • Creating community gardens to grow food
  • Business waste exchange - which seeks to match the waste of one industry with another industry that uses that waste material
  • Repairing old items rather than throwing them away


Sustainable Communities: The potential for eco-neighbourhoods (2009)

Barton, H., Gilchrist, A., Hathway, T., Hopkins, R., Houghton, T., Kleiner, D., Robbins, C., Rowe, J., Shaftoe, H., Stead, D., Stewart, M. and Taylor, N.

Edited by Hugh Barton
Published by Earthscan Ltd: London

New Urban Farmer (2010)

Brooks Brown, C.

Published by Quadrille Publishing Ltd

Food and the City: Urban Agriculture and the New Food Revolution (2012)

Cockrall-King, J.

Published by Prometheus Books

Urban Gardening: How To Grow Food In Any City Apartment Or Yard No Matter How Small (Gardening Guidebooks) (2013)

Cook, W.

Published by Vertical Gardening Group; 2nd Edition

The Urban Farm Handbook: City-slicker Resources for Growing, Raising, Sourcing, Trading and Preparing what You Eat (2011)

Cottrell, A. & McNichols, J.

Published by Skipstone

Urban Farming: Maximizing Yield (2013)

De Casmaker, E.

Published by Ellen and Gary de Casmaker

Potatoes on Rooftops: Farming in the City (2012)

Dyer, H.

Published by Annick Press Ltd

Urban Farming: Sustainable City Living in Your Backyard, in Your Community, and in the World (2011)

Fox, T. J.

Edited by Calvert, J. & Deputato, A.
Published by BowTie Press: California

Breaking Through Concrete: Building an Urban Farm Revival (2012)

Hanson, D. & Marty, E.

Published by University of California Press

Urban Agriculture: Growing Healthy, Sustainable Communities (2010)

Hodgson, K.

Published by APA Planners Press

Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World (2010)

H.R.H. Prince of Wales, Juniper, T. & Skelly, I.

Published by Blue Door; 1st Edition

Urban Food Revolution (2011)

Ladner, P.

Published by New Society Publishers

The Edible Balcony: Growing Fresh Produce in the Heart of the City (2011)

Mitchell, A.

Published by Kyle Cathie

The Urban Kitchen Gardener: Growing & Cooking in the City (2012)

Moggach, T.

Published by Kyle Books

Growing Better Cities: Urban Agriculture for Sustainable Development (In Focus) (2006)

Mougeot, L. J. A.

Published by International Development Research Centre

Agriculture in Urban Planning: Generating Livelihoods and Food Security (2011)

Edited by Redwood, M.

Published by Routledge

Urban Farms (2012)

Tracey, D.

Published by New Society Publishers

Urban Agriculture (2011)

Mougeot, L. J. A.

Published by International Development Research Centre

Urban Agriculture: Food, Jobs and Sustainable Cities (Publication Series for Habitat II) (1997)

United Nations Development Programme

Edited by Smit, J.
Published by United Nations