Urban Agroecology: designing biodiverse, productive and resilient city farms

Altieri, M. A., Nicholls, C. I.


Original Research Article, Special Issue: Agroecology and Sustainable Agricultural Systems


Urban agriculture (UA) has been bolstered as a major sustainable alternative to enhance food security on an urbanized planet. Although it has been estimated that UA can provide 15–20% of global food, it is questionable whether  UA can significantly contribute the level of food self-sufficiency of cities, due to low yields reached in most existing urban farms. Agroecology can help enhance the productive potential of UA by providing key principles for the design of diversified, productive, and resilient urban farms. Herein we describe the principles and practices used in the redesign of urban agriculture featuring: (a) increasing soil quality via enhancement of soil organic matter content and biological activity that lead to protection against pathogens and efficient use of soil nutrients and water and (b) enhancement of plant health through biological control and plant productivity via optimal planning of crop sequences and combinations.