Bringing agriculture into the city

Andrew Adam-Bradford was recently invited to Madrid to give a talk about urban agriculture at a Cafés Scientifiques organised by the British Council – Spain and La Casa Encendida, a Spanish organisation promoting culture, solidarity, environment and education. In the audience was the British Council's Director of Science Dr Lloyd Anderson visiting from London, and excerpts from the evening's talks were later screened on Spanish national television.

Urban agriculture is simply the cultivation of crops and the rearing of livestock, in and around towns and cities, but unlike many European countries such as Germany, Poland and the UK, Spain does not officially recognise urban agriculture and thus urban allotments are actually illegal. These were some of the issues being addressed during the Cafés Scientifiques, with Andrew presenting a global perspective of urban agriculture drawing from his international research work.

Funded by ESRC and NERC, Andrew looks at urban food production and health risk management in Ghana, Ethiopia and India, because in many cities around the world urban farmers irrigate with contaminated wastewater or rear livestock in densely populated settlements, all of which can bring elements of risk to urban farmers, local residents and the consumers of such produce. His research looks at these issues with the objective of minimising risks from urban agriculture while maximising the multiple benefits. Recent outputs from his work include:

  • Training refugee camp managers in food production for refugee settings during a UNHCR-funded Refugee Camp Management workshop in Iraq.
  • Development of an environmental management plan for the USAID-funded Urban Gardens for HIV-Affected Women and Children programme in Ethiopia.
  • Designing a USAID-funded urban agriculture and food security programme in the Gaza Strip.
  • Designing a USAID-funded urban garden programme for people living with HIV/AIDS in Kigali, Rwanda.
  • Contributing to the development of the urban agriculture policy for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Further details from this work can be found at

Café Scientifique