Alabama Extensionist has high hopes for urban farming

11/22/2013 11:46:00 AM
Vicky Boyd

%iAyanava Majumdar concedes that urban farming will never replace commercial production nor will it solve the world hunger problem.

But what has the head of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System's Commercial Horticulture group so excited is the possibility that urban farming could help disadvantaged populations become healthier and have a potential income source, according to a news release.

In essence, he's trying to resurrect small-scale local production systems that have long since disappeared.

"We're talking about a community movement of self-sustenance," Majumdar said in the release. "A village has always been defined as a self-sustaining community.

"We're trying to get back to the village concept where people know each other and trade with each other and where these reciprocal relationships are self-sustaining."

In Alabama alone, more than 3.4 million people live in urban areas.

High production costs remain the largest obstacle since urban farming is labor intensive.

That helps explain why locally grown produce has remained a luxury item, according to the release.

As more farm equipment manufacturers begin to take notice, the landscape is changing.

No longer are urban producers having to scale down large-scale practices or use oversized equipment.

But some operations just may be too small to mechanize.

And day-to-day demands of farming often require more attention than an individual can provide.

To help overcome some of these obstacles, Majumdar and his team are working closely with the Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network.



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