Explore the peri-urban agriculture docuseries “Farming on the Edge”

Urbanization has reduced the physical gaps between some rural and urban areas, making it essential that peri-urban areas have efficient and knowledgeable agricultural practices, and that farmers are able to adjust and diversify quickly. their operations. The Peri-urban agriculture network released a docuseries Farming at the limitwhich examines the issues and uncertainties surrounding agriculture in the face of urban sprawl.

According to the network, “‘peri-urban’ refers to dynamic transitional areas where urban landscapes, lifestyles, values ​​and cultures intertwine with rural landscapes, lifestyles, values ​​and culture. These areas typically feature blurred landscapes between city and countryside, a mix of urban and land-based economies, and complex community governance issues due to a wide gap between cultural values ​​and land use planning.

» Related: Living on the (urban) periphery

Previous generations intentionally built cities near certain areas based on the surrounding farmland. However, with improved transportation and refrigeration, proximity to where food is grown has become less of a priority, resulting in urban sprawl. As a result, people have moved away from rural areas, breaking the connection between urban populations and how food is made.

“My family members before me, I don’t think they ever imagined we would have this much growth and development,” says Bill Zimmerman, Bizi Farms, whose farm is located outside of Portland, Oregon. .



Despite challenges such as rising land costs on peri-urban farms, rising worker wages and urban policies, peri-urban farmers benefit from a close and wide direct consumer base. One farmer from the network discusses the difference between two people a day walking past your fruit stand and 2,000. Another says their farms can’t keep up with demand. Due to the demand and cost of operation, peri-urban farmers are intensely focused on increasing the efficiency of their smaller acreage operation.

Peri-urban farmers have also connected with their neighboring communities by donating to food banks and other programs that give back to their communities. Some farms offer agritourism opportunities to generate income, educate the public and connect with neighbors.

The full five-episode series can be seen here:

Episode 1: Agriculture in the peri-urban context

Reframe the paradigm of what viable agricultural economies look like in urbanizing regions.




Episode 2: Starting up and expanding peri-urban farms

Navigate access to land, capital and increased productive capacity.




Episode 3: Evolution and succession of peri-urban farms

Navigate the learning curve of capitalizing on new markets and diversifying business plans




Episode 4: Farming in Tight Spaces

Produce on a limited territorial basis and close to residential communities




Episode 5: Collective support, advocacy and policy

Competing interests and politics: collective support and advocacy for peri-urban farms



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