EPRSauthor By / June 18, 2014

Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture

Urban and peri-urban agriculture has been defined as the cultivation of crops and rearing of animals for food and other…

© johnbraid / Fotolia

Urban and peri-urban agriculture has been defined as the cultivation of crops and rearing of animals for food and other uses within and surrounding the boundaries of cities, including fisheries and forestry. It comprehends a multifunctional of food production activities, as well as herbs, medicinal and ornamental plants for both home consumption and for the market. It contributes to fresh food availability of the urban dwellers, as well as to the greening of the cities and the productive reuse of urban waste. In developed countries, urban and peri-urban agriculture is recognized for this provision of local food, as well as recreational, educational and social services. In developing countries, urban and peri-urban agriculture provides income and employment and contributes to local economic development, poverty alleviation and the social inclusion of the urban poor and women. This type of agriculture mostly remains an informal sector that is not well integrated into agricultural policies or urban planning. From the perspective of the European Union policies, we will mention the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The CAP 2007-2013 supported several projects on peri-urban agriculture by the LEADER approach (community-led local development method for mobilising and developing rural communities through local public-private partnerships). Regarding the CAP 2014-2020, its measures are applicable to all farmers, including those located in urban and peri-urban areas, who fulfil the eligibility criteria (written question E-002381-14, 12 May 2014).

This EPRS keysource presents a selection of information sources on urban and peri-urban agriculture, in both developed and developing countries. See also the keysource on From urban-rural linkages to urban-rural relationships in the EU (February 2014).


Allotment garden
© johnbraid / Fotolia

Agriculture urbaine / INRA. March 2014.
This INRA dossier gives an overview about the urban agriculture. Topics discussed include the following: urban agriculture and production systems, associative gardens and urban agriculture in Africa.

Réforme de la politique agricole commune et agriculture périurbaine / Mathieu Simon… (et al.). Réseau des territoires agriurbains d’Île-de-France, December 2013. 8 p.
This paper gathers the contributions made during the workshop on the Common Agricultural Policy 2014-2020 and the peri-urban agriculture. The paper describes the measures and support that this type of agriculture may benefit.

L’agriculture urbaine fait déjà partie du métabolisme urbain / Christine Aubry and Jeanne Pourias. Demeter 2013. 21 p.
This article shows that urban agriculture becomes more dynamic and diversified over the world and meets a variety of functions, both in southern and in northern countries, such as food security. This agriculture faces to pollution of cities. However urban agriculture can also help to minimize and absorb this pollution using recycled waste.

Aperçu de l’agriculture urbaine en Europe et en Amérique du Nord / Anne-Cécile Daniel. May 2013. 79 p.
This report is an overview of urban agriculture in North America and in Europe. The report shows the complexity and diversity of urban agriculture and its multifunctional role. The report also how urban agriculture could be a planning tool for the cities of tomorrow.

Agricultural management in peri-urban areas: the experience of an international workshop / Mariassunta Galli… (et al.). Ghezzano: Felici Editore, 2010. 168 p.
This report is the proceedings of an International Workshop on “Agricultural management in peri-urban areas” organised by the UMR Métafort of Clermont-Ferrand (France) and the Land Lab of the Scuola Superiore S. Anna of Pisa (Italy). The main goal of the workshop was to compare the research carried out by French and Italian teams on the role of the agriculture in the planning of peri-urban areas, along with the effects on farming and agricultural systems of the new relationships between the city and countryside.


Durabilité de l’agriculture dans les territoires périurbains méditerranéens: enjeux et projets agriurbains dans la région de Pise (Toscane, Italie) / Elisa Marraccini… (et al.). Cahiers Agricultures, vol. 22, novembre-décembre 2013. 9 p.
The sustainability of Mediterranean periurban areas is challenged by several dynamics, for instance, the decrease and fragmentation of farmland, conflicts concerning resources and land use. Through the case study of the Pisan urban region, the authors highlight how actions joining different stakeholders in a variety of projects offer new potentials to treat the issues at stake in such periurban areas.

Strawberry fields forever? Urban agriculture in developed countries: a review / Hoi-Fei Mok… (et al.). Agronomy for Sustainable Development, May 2013. 23 p.
This article reviews the growth of urban agriculture throughout the developed world in order to clarify the different benefits, risks, and hindrances associated with the practice. The article analyses the following countries: the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and Japan.

Urbane Landwirtschaft und „Green Production“ als Teil eines nachhaltigen Landmanagements / K. Schulz…(et al.). Leibniz‐Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF) e.V. Institut für Sozioökonomie, April 2013. 63 p.
This discussion paper considers the question, which possibilities a gainful agriculture can have in urban areas. First, present trends and tendencies concerning urban agrarian production will be analysed. To assess the economic contribution of urban agriculture for a sustainable land management, a SWOT‐analysis was realised, several forms were economically calculated as well as the possible acceptance by urban dwellers was examined.

L’agriculture urbaine, contributrice des strategies alimentaires des megapoles? / Christine Aubry. 24èmes Journées Scientifiques de l’Environnement – La transition écologique des mégapoles, 2013. 11 p.
This article analyses the contribution of urban agriculture of food security. This contribution is very evident and strong in developing countries. Moreover and, more and more, urban agriculture plays an important role in northern countries.

Pour une définition de l’agriculture urbaine: réciprocité fonctionnelle et diversité des formes spatiales / Paula Nahmias and Yvon Le Caro. Environnement urbain, vol. 6, 2012. 16 p.
This article highlights that agricultural initiatives make up part of the urban experience and urban authorities consider them in their development and planning schemes. The intricacy of the term “urban agriculture” comes from the diversity of its forms and of its representations by stakeholders.

Health benefits of urban agriculture / Anne C. Bellows… (et al.). Community Food Security Coalition’s North American Initiative on Urban Agriculture, January 2011. 8 p.
This article outlines the benefits of urban agriculture with regard to nutrition, food security, exercise, mental health, and social and physical urban environments. Potential risks are reviewed. Practical recommendations for health professionals to increase the positive benefits of urban agriculture are provided.

Country approach

Member States


L’agriculture dans les régions urbaines belges / Étienne Van Hecke. Bulletin de la Société Géographique de Liège, 2010. 7 p.
The aim of this article is to analyse the characteristics of agriculture in the urban areas in comparison to the specific agrarian surroundings in the same region.


Peri-urbanisation and multifunctional adaptation of agriculture around Copenhagen / Ingo Zasada… (et al.). Danish Journal of Geography 111(1), 2011. 14 p.
This article shows that peri-urbanisation has been recognised as a major spatial development beyond the urban fringes. In this context, agriculture, the main land use actor in the hinterlands of many urban areas is increasingly affected by urban encroachment, responds with adaptation strategies and farming activities to cope with the peri-urban framework conditions.


Les politiques et les lois visant à développer l’agriculture (péri)urbaine française / Xavier Guiomar. Demeter 2013. 24 p.
This article analyzes the policies involved in peri-urban agriculture in France: land policies and land access; policies to support farm structures; political quality products and peri-urban agricultural areas; marketing policies in the city or suburbs and political integration of agriculture in urban and peri-urban governance heritage.

Les exploitations agricoles périurbaines: diversité et logiques de développement / C. Soulard, B. Thareau. Innovations Agronomiques, vol. 5, 2009. 14 p.
This paper proposes a synthesis concerning farms in French periurban areas. National studies show that farms close to cities are smaller and more intensive. This agriculture is also more diverse with regards to production, infrastructure of the farms and local food supply chains. The authors show that differences between urban and rural agriculture are mostly explained by regional specificities.

Les utilisations sociales de l’agriculture aux marges de la ville: les jardins d’insertion en l’Ile-de-France / Xavier Guiomar. Innovations Agronomiques, vol. 5, 2009. 15 p.
There are actually about forty “social gardens” in Ile de France. Although the main objective of those gardens is social inclusion and not agricultural production, they managed after a fashion to make way for themselves in periurban area as well as in the organic market gardening sector.


COST Action Urban Agriculture Europe: UA in the Greater Dublin Region short term scientific mission report / Helene Weissinger. COST Action Urban Agriculture, September 2013, 24 p.
This report analyses the horticultural dimension of urban agriculture in the Greater Dublin Region. The author focuses on the efforts to promote sustainability by different stakeholders and the interactions and connections between producers and consumers responsible citizens.


Les paysages agraires périurbains: vers la co-construction du territoire / Paola Branduini and Lionella Scazzosi. Les cahiers du développement urbain durable, October 2011. 28 p.
The peri-urban agricultural landscape is a physical, environmental, economic, social and recreational resource. The article presents the situation in the region of Milan where are currently in experimentation new models of land management, some proper to Italy and inspired from European models.

La territorialisation de l’agriculture périurbaine du Chianti: entre terroir et proximité urbaine / Coline Perrin. Norois, n° 221, vol. 4, 2011. 14 p.
This paper deals with the integration of agriculture in territorial development projects in Chianti region. After a phase of consensus around the European LEADER program, the failure of the rural district project has revived the previous social and political divisions among local actors. This failure also revealed the differences between two types of territorialisation for periurban agriculture: geographical indication in the globalization and the renewal of ties with city and consumers.

The Netherlands

Urban Agriculture: how to create a natural connection between the urban and rural environment in Almere Oosterwold (NL) / Jan Eelco Jansma. Real Corp, 2013. 10 p.
This paper analyses the strategies for the development of urban agriculture in the city of Almere Oosterwold, a fast growing city in a polder area. The authors also explore the opportunities and threats of developing urban agriculture in a rural-urban setting like Almere Oosterwold.


Urban agriculture and resilience in Lisbon: the role of the municipal government / Jorge Castro Henriques. RUAF Foundation, June 2009. 2 p.
This briefing highlights that in recent years, urban agriculture in Lisbon has become more widespread and has received unprecedented media coverage. News articles have appeared on the expansion of agriculture within the city and its suburban areas and on the urban poor who grow vegetables in response to the current crisis. In this way, society has been contributing to the city’s resilience.


COST Action Urban Agriculture Europe: UA in Barcelona Metropolitan Region: short term scientific mission report / Giulia Giacchè and Attila Tóth. COST Action Urban Agriculture, March 2013, 39 p.
This report shows that there are several initiatives within the city of Barcelona and its surroundings aimed more at social and recreational than production aspects of urban agriculture. There is a big refuse on the part of professional farmers’ associations and unions but an increasing interest in administration due to emerging social and leisure realities.

Third countries

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Urban and peri-urban agriculture in Sarajevo region: an exploratory study / Hamid El Bilali… (et al.). Journal of Central European Agriculture, 2013. 17 p.
This article aims at providing an overview of urban and peri-urban agriculture in Bosnia and Herzegovina especially in terms of legal, legislative and regulatory framework, governance and actors as well as the role of extension and advisory services. The article is based on an extended literature review and on primary information collected by semi-structured interviews, carried out in summer-autumn 2011, with urban gardeners, extension agents, representatives of NGOs and officers in the municipal Departments for Urban Planning and Economy in Sarajevo region.


Entre ville stérile et ville fertile, l’émergence de l’agriculture urbaine en Suisse / Joëlle Salomon Cavin. Environnement urbain, vol. 6, 2012. 15 p.
In Switzerland current experiences of urban agriculture are connected to discourses that highlight the perfect merging of city and agriculture and help foster a positive image of the city. However, as an exemplary case examined in the Geneva region shoes, the contrast between city and agriculture associated with negative representations of the city is still very real.


Urban agriculture policy, planning, and practice: a report for the city of Hamilton, Ontario / Sarah Corey and Melissa Routley. Urban Agriculture Working Group. May, 2013. 64 p.
This report is intended to assist policy and decision makers at the City of Hamilton as they investigate how urban agriculture might be better enabled by the City’s programs and regulatory framework. It can also be used as an educational tool for community groups and individuals interested in knowing more about the growing field of urban agriculture practice.

L’agriculture périurbaine et urbaine au Québec: état de situation et perspectives / Marie‐Élaine Boily. Direction de l’appui au développement des entreprises et de l’aménagement du territoire, Octobre 2012. 30 p.This report seeks to clarify the concepts of urban and peri-urban agriculture, as well as to highlight their benefits and constraints. The report concludes that in a context where food issues are increasingly important it is relevant to consider the support that should be offered to these types of agriculture.


Urban agriculture impacts: social, health, and economic: a literature review / Sheila Golden. University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources. November 2013. 22 p.
This paper is a literature review that summarizes the social, economic, and health impacts discussed in the literature. Using both peer-reviewed research and agency reports, it considers geography, rhetoric, and research methods in order to compile a snapshot of the state of urban agriculture. Although most of the literature is concentrated in the U.S., articles from Canada, the UK, Cuba, and UN reports were included in order to provide international perspective.

Developing countries

Growing greener cities in Latin America and the Caribbean: an FAO report on urban and peri-urban agriculture in the region. FAO, 2014. 51 p. The report is also available in Spanish.
This report looks at progress made in “growing greener cities” in Latin America and the Caribbean, cities in which urban and peri-urban agriculture is recognized by public policy, included in urban development strategies and land-use planning, supported by agricultural research and extension, and linked to sources of technological innovation, investment and credit, and to urban markets and consumers.

Urban agriculture: findings from four city case studies. World Bank, 2013. 104 p.
This publication by the World Bank provides an in-depth view of the impacts of urban agriculture on income, food security and nutrition, and its role in creating cities that are green, inclusive, and sustainable. The report is based on studies conducted by the RUAF Foundation in Accra (Ghana), Bangalore (India), Lima (Peru) and Nairobi (Kenya) in 2012.

Urban Agriculture in the Mediterranean. CIHEAM. Watch Letter n° 18, September 2011. 24 p. This watch letter is also available in French.
This watch letter describes urban agriculture in the Middle East and North Africa (Egypt and Jordan), in Tunisia, in Algeria and in Italy.

Urban agriculture and sustainable urban landscape: an applied research on two case studies (Madagascar and Senegal) / Christine Aubry… (et al.). 9th European IFSA Symposium, 4‐7 July 2010, Vienna. 14 p.
This paper analyses the urban agriculture functions and its internal and external sustainability. The paper shows that in developing countries urban agriculture is progressively taken into account in urban planning. To produce knowledge on this largely unknown activity and to help to design its place in urban landscape, two researches have been done with numerous surveys of farmers and of other stakeholders.

EU programmes and projects

The project SUPURBFOOD (“Towards sustainable modes of urban and peri-urban food provisioning”) is a research project financed by the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development of the European Commission. The project studies the agri-food system in seven European city-regions, focusing on: 1) short food chain initiatives; 2) water and wastes recycling; 3) multifunctional land use, and 4) related social and institutional innovation.

The seven European city-regions are the following: City-region Rotterdam, Metropolitan Area Rome (final report), City-region Ghent (final report), Metropolitan Area Vigo (final report), City-region Bristol (final report), Greater Riga Region (final report) and City-region Zürich. The final synthesis report was published in October 2013. It provides an overview about the seven European city- regions that are taking part in this project.

RUAF Foundation (Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture and Food Security) contributes to the project SUPURBFOOD by documenting and analysing experiences gained in cities in the South on these issues. Reports of this contribution:


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