Roofmeadow’s invested in Feeding Cities
As Roofmeadow’s resident Rooftop Agriculture Specialist, I was delighted to attend a food security conference in Philadelphia this past week. “Feeding Cities: Food Security in a Rapidly Urbanizing World” attracted scientists, regional planners, urban farmers, and food security experts from around the globe, resulting in robust dialogue with an international flair. The University of Pennsylvania and Rockefeller Foundation hosted the two-day event, which showcased the organizational prowess of the Penn Institute for Urban Research, PennDesign, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, among others.
Lecture and panel discussion topics addressed diverse issues that reflected the presenters’ varied backgrounds. Topics spanned from water resource management to food supply chains to the geopolitics of urban food security. When viewed holistically, the talks addressed a singular, underlying questions: How do we balance the competing needs of water and food security as urban populations rapidly increase?
One panel discussion that I attended examined regional planning strategies that promote peri-urban farmland protection, or protection of farmland along the rural-urban fringe, in expanding cities. Speakers highlighted strategies from their resident countries of Canada, Scotland, China, and the US, revealing that cities in different countries are attempting to achieve the same goal through varying methods. The conclusion? Each city demands a unique farmland protection strategy that satisfies local geography and culture. This is not the easiest solution in terms of developing national strategies, but the experts seemed to agree that custom solutions are more likely to catalyze favorable results.
So where does rooftop agriculture fit into this conversation? Well, speakers from Sri Lanka and the Middle East listed this edgy type of urban food production as a strategy deployed in their regions. Roofmeadow applauds the global promotion of rooftop agriculture, and hopes to contribute to North America’s movement in the years to come.