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Five cities and the groups that are making them green

Around the world cities are promoting urban agriculture to help feed their growing populations.

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Detroit in action: Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (DBCFSN) is a nonprofit working for food security and food justice. D-Town farm, DBCFSN’s seven-acre organic farm, is also a Regional Outreach Training Center for Growing Power Inc.

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3. Cape Town: More than 30 percent of the 3.5 million inhabitants of Cape Town, South Africa, live below the poverty line. Philippi Horticulture Area in Cape Town is a large agricultural area that easily produces half of Cape Town’s fresh produce. Much of the 3,300-hectare area of farmland is left vacant by the owners and as a result hundreds of families have illegally settled the land.

Cape Town in action: Nazeer Ahmed Sonday has a small farm in the Philippi Horticulture Area. He is concerned both for the marginalized poor who are living there as well as the environment. Nazeer founded the Schaapkraal Developing Farmers Association, which in partnership with the Program in Urban Food Security at Cape Town University is helping struggling farmers. Nazeer hopes to protect the biodiversity of the area from developers, help farmers get access to markets, and help youths see agriculture as a respectable and desirable way to make a living.

4. St. Petersburg: Time is of the essence in St. Petersburg, Russia, where the growing season is only four months. Despite the harsh climate, more than 2.5 million of the city’s inhabitants are cultivating 560,000 hectares, an area roughly the size of Prince Edward Island, every year. Hardworking urban farmers produce an impressive amount of food annually, including 15,800 tons of potatoes; 47,400 tons of apples, pears, and plums; 38,500 tons of vegetables; 7,900 tons of strawberries; and 23 million cut flowers.

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