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A post office employee harvests vegetables on the rooftop garden of the postal sorting center in Paris, France, September 22, 2017. Reuters / Charles Platiau

By Rina Chandran

This story was originally published on Reuters on April 7, 2020. Data and statistics reflect numbers at that time.

Coronavirus lockdowns are pushing more city dwellers to grow fruit and vegetables in their homes, providing a potentially lasting boost to urban farming, architects and food experts said on Tuesday.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

By James Clasper

A dozen children are sitting in a circle when the bell rings. Instead of rushing to their next class, the children close their eyes.

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Maskot / DigitalVision / Getty Images

In Phoenix, Arizona, a mobile app is working to connect chefs, eaters and urban farmers to make good food accessible to more people. Bites | Eat With Your Tribe is a community-driven marketplace linking foodies to local chefs to plan in-home, farm-to-table dining experiences in the foodie's own kitchen.

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Westend61 / Getty Images

By Andrea Oyuela

The United Nations estimates that nearly 10 billion people will be living in cities by 2050. According to a recent publication by the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition, urban eaters consume most of the food produced globally and maintain more resource-intensive diets including increased animal-source and processed foods — rich in salt, sugar and fats. At the same time, many urban populations — particularly in low-income areas and informal communities — endure acute hunger and malnutrition as well as limited access to affordable, healthy food.

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A verdant and productive urban garden in Havana. Susanne Bollinger / Wikimedia Commons

By Paul Brown

When countries run short of food, they need to find solutions fast, and one answer can be urban farming.

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Boston Medical Center Rooftop Farm - Featured Project

By Lindsay Campbell

Carrie Golden believes the only reason she's diabetes free is because she has access to fresh, locally grown food.

A few years after the Boston resident was diagnosed with prediabetes, she was referred to Boston Medical Center's Preventative Food Pantry as someone who is food insecure. The food pantry is a free food resource for low-income patients.

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Mason Phillips and Maltby sit amidst an edible flower garden planted in a borrowed backyard in Ottawa, Canada. Madeleine Maltby

By Lindsay Campbell

In 2015, Madeleine Maltby began knocking on neighborhood doors in Canada's capital city, Ottawa, with a simple proposal. In exchange for a backyard, the residents would let her grow a garden full of crops with a percentage they could enjoy.

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Mónica R. Goya

By Mónica R. Goya

Agricool is a Parisian urban agriculture tech start-up that recently raised $28 million to scale its business: growing strawberries in reclaimed shipping containers in central Paris using vertical farming methods. Since the plants are cultivated using aeroponics — that is, by spraying a mist of water and nutrients on the plants' exposed roots (as opposed to the plants growing in soil) — their process uses 90 percent less water than conventional agriculture. Pesticides aren't needed because they grow in a controlled environment, and their carbon footprint is almost nonexistent because the transportation radius is less than 20 kilometers. Additionally, they claim to be 120 times more productive than traditional, soil-based agriculture, and their LED lights are powered by renewable energy.

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Westend61 / iStock / Getty Images

By Miguel Altieri

During the partial federal shutdown in December 2018 and January 2019, news reports showed furloughed government workers standing in line for donated meals. These images were reminders that for an estimated one out of eight Americans, food insecurity is a near-term risk.

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Lisa Waterman Gray

By Lisa Waterman Gray

On a cool September morning, Dre Taylor dodged raindrops while talking with several people tending beans, peppers, tomatillos, collards and more outside of a 4,500-square-foot building. This is Nile Valley Aquaponics, a vibrant fixture in Kansas City, Missouri's urban core. The name came from Egypt where people cultivated plants and fish thousands of years ago. Goats and picnic tables share outdoor space and offices occupy a nearby house.

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By Steve Edgerton

The turfgrass found in lawns, parks, and schoolyards represents the single largest irrigated crop in the U.S. Across the country, turf guzzles up 34 billion liters (nine billion gallons) of water per day, demanding 31 million kilograms (70 million pounds) of pesticides and 757 million liters (200 gallons) of gasoline annually.

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daryl_mitchell / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Brian Barth

Urban soils are particularly prone to contamination. Fifty years ago, your yard could have belonged to a farmer, who, perhaps not knowing any better, disposed of old bottles of anti-freeze or contaminated diesel in a hole out behind the tractor garage. Or perhaps the remains of a fallen down outbuilding, long ago coated in lead-based paint, was buried on your property buy a lazy contractor when your subdivision was built.

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