National-Level Study Considers Urban Britain’s Food Production Potential

A team of researchers led by scientists at Lancaster University explored the food production potential of urban green spaces throughout Britain. The research team used Ordnance Survey master maps to identify outdoor urban green spaces and calculated the productive potential of these areas using figures from existing domestic agriculture. The researchers considered all urban green spaces as potentially suitable for agriculture, as a means of defining the outer limits of urban food production. The study found if all urban green spaces were converted to food production, and used efficiently, they would collectively have the capacity to support food output eight times that of the current UK fruit and vegetable production. “We found that urban green spaces are significantly under-used for food growing and that there is huge untapped capacity in our towns and cities for people to grow more given support through targeted national policies. This could prove to be beneficial for improving access to healthier foods as well as boosting wellbeing through better connectedness to nature,” commented the study’s lead author.