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By Diana Lee-Smith, International Development Research Centre (Canada), Axumite G. Egziabher, Daniel G. Maxwell

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As cities expand, they often engulf existing villages whose residents continue to farm in increasingly constricted surroundings. Transport systems tie even more remote villages to the urban economy through both kin-exchange patterns and market relations. Urban dwellers often maintain their own peri-urban farms, shuttling out weekly or leaving some family members there to tend the crops during the season. China long ago recognized the different land uses in zones surrounding urban areas and created municipal boundaries the size of counties to allow urban control of the hinterland.

Theory needs to catch up to practice; the concept of continuum needs to replace the idea of dichotomy, with a focus on the types of food and animals that are adaptable to the urban or peri-urban landscape. What is Urban Agriculture? All panelists emphasized that UA refers not merely to the growing of food crops and fruit trees but that it also encompasses the raising of animals, poultry, fish, bees, rabbits, snakes, guinea pigs, or other stock considered edible locally. But defining “urban” or “peri-urban” is more difficult.

To encourage such governmental reconsideration of policies toward urban and peri-urban farming, however, careful quantitative comparative studies must be completed to understand current practices. Page 1 Chapter 1. A. Mougeot Urban agriculture (UA) encompasses the production of food and nonfood plant and tree crops and animal husbandry (livestock, fowl, fish, and so forth), both within (intra-) and fringing (peri-) built-up urban areas. 6% of Pointe-Noire’s population), of whom 4 500 were women (Vennetier 1961, p.

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