The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change issued a ten-point plan to boost food resilience in cities. The Institute works to support political leaders and governments in building open, inclusive, and prosperous societies around the world.
The ten points/goals for cities are:
- Grow 30% of produce by the year 2030 – this would create a buffer against supply-chain disruptions, use land more efficiently, decrease food miles, and attract investment and jobs; .
- Treat urban space as an agricultural asset – cities can can maximize the potential of urban spaces by connecting gardeners and entrepreneurs to vacant lots, buildings, and rooftops;
- Update land use and permit regulations – simplifying permit requirements and creating specific urban gardening policies will aid in the process;
- Incentivize crop growing in new and existing commercial buildings – commercial buildings are previously unused sites for urban farming;
- Attract commercial investment by sharing capital risk – high upfront capital costs and the long-term return on investment are currently barriers to adoption of urban agtech;
- Support research and development to optimize technology and bring down costs;
- Educate the next generation of urban-agtech entrepreneurs – provide Internships, school initiatives, extension workshops, etc. to increase awareness of urban-agtech careers and the potential for urban farming within communities;
- Update labeling requirements – some current labeling requirements do not allow hydroponically produced products to be labeled as organic because they are not grown in soil. Updated labeling is needed to increase transparency for consumers and improve consumer confidence in these products. These updates could be a new category or an expansion of the “organic” label;
- Ensure controlled-environment agriculture lives up to its environmental promise by establishing appropriate benchmarking and addressing the energy-intensity problem – subsidies and other support for renewable energy usage could be provided upon proof of best practices; and
- Preserve existing urban produce – support for existing urban farms is needed in order for them to continue and expand their projects.