The background of Farming the City

CITIES’ Farming the City pilot project has been running in Amsterdam since November 2010, buy bringing city dwellers together to explore inspirational ways of producing, ed storing, cooking, preserving, distributing and sharing food.

CITIES is a research unit for urban observers and explorers around the world. Through events and exhibitions, research projects, publications and case studies, CITIES provides an open, independent and accessible platform for discussion, debate and action.

Phase one of Farming the City is complete in spring 2011 with the launch of a free online resource featuring and mapping a diverse range of city farming projects across Amsterdam. This is the first step towards the creation of a major new city asset for Amsterdam: a local food system. has been launched at the Amsterdam Architecture Center with an exhibition in March 2011, through a 6 weeks show. (For an overview of the exhibtion, please download our press pack) maps and showcases an initial 19 key city farming projects on an interactive online site. Case study information includes location, type of project (commercial, community, innovation), status (start-up, on-going, completed) and position within the developing local food system (sourcing, preparation, distribution, consumption).

From March 2011 onwards, groups and individuals will be able to upload information about their own projects to the database and map.

12 of the initial 19 projects have been selected to create an urban agriculture route for bikes in Amsterdam. This route can also be found on the UAR (Urban augmented reality) application for Iphone and Android, developed by the Netherlands Architecture Institute in collaboration with Amsterdam Center for Architecture.

Local food systems build place-based, self-reliant food economies in which sustainable food production, processing, distribution and consumption come together to enhance the economic, environmental and social health of a particular place. They provide employment, generate income and support social equity.

In Amsterdam, Farming the City has brought together, for the first time, representatives from the ever-expanding range of players involved in local urban and suburban food production, including community activists, local politicians, computer geeks, planners, policy-makers, farmers, gardeners, shopkeepers, social workers, developers, landlords, engineers, designers, health professionals and academics. provides detailed information about current trends and local issues such as land ownership and land use designation, economic and planning policies and city-wide urban design initiatives. It offers advice, ideas, practical know-how about and a knowledge-sharing forum for urban farmers: what should I grow on a vertical wall? How can we reclaim polluted land for food production and green uses? What would grow best on my balcony or on my windowsill?

Health, wellbeing, food security and the move towards low impact, low carbon lifestyles are the key issues of our times. European food prices hit a record high in 2011, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and with these rises, inflation is rising way above the preferred targets of European central banks.

The Farming the City project and are demonstrating that we can make better use of existing city assets such as green spaces and neglected places, and we can investigate how new technologies, both high and low tech, can make the city more edible, healthier, wealthier and happier. CITIES committed to this project to share information and learn from experience, and help each other to make a better use of our urban experiences

Posted on 16 March 2011 and filed under content