Local Produce

The term ‘urban farm’ might conjure up images of rather sad looking sheep being patted by bemused inner-city children. Similarly, the economics of developing an arable farm in a city might feel dubious. Nevertheless, vertical farms may soon find their way onto the Use Classes Register, as more ingenious methods of densely stacking organic produce in hydroponic systems emerge. Use of city centre real estate for this purpose is still largely uneconomic; however, the play between logistics costs and land use narrows in the suburbs. A number of businesses are finding a space in this market (e.g. AeroFarms (Newark); Blue Planet (Brooklyn) and Unit 84 (London)). Similarly, the availability of products to support backyard or balcony farming (without soil or pumps) is increasing, potentially providing a response to the increased use of foodbanks, (up 7% this year), and lending authenticity to self-sustaining urban villages.