Decoding Urban Farming: The AP Human Geography Perspective

Urban farming is a concept that has gained significant attention and recognition in recent years. With the rapid growth of cities and the increasing concern for sustainable food production, urban farming has emerged as an innovative solution to address various challenges. In the realm of AP Human Geography, urban farming holds a prominent position due to its multifaceted implications on human societies, economies, and the environment.

The Definition of Urban Farming in AP Human Geography

In AP Human Geography, urban farming is defined as the practice of cultivating, processing, and distributing food within or near urban areas. It encompasses a diverse range of agricultural activities, including rooftop gardens, community gardens, hydroponics, aquaponics, and vertical farming. The primary objective of urban farming is to produce fresh, nutritious food locally, thereby reducing reliance on long-distance transportation and mitigating the environmental impact associated with conventional agriculture.

The Importance of Urban Farming in AP Human Geography

Urban farming plays a pivotal role in addressing several critical aspects of human geography, making it a subject of significant importance. Let’s explore some of the key reasons why urban farming holds such value in AP Human Geography:

1. Food Security and Food Deserts

Urban farming contributes to food security by increasing access to fresh and healthy food in urban areas, particularly in underserved communities known as food deserts. These are areas where residents lack access to affordable and nutritious food options. By establishing community gardens and urban farms in these areas, fresh produce becomes readily available, improving the overall food security and nutritional well-being of the local population.

2. Urbanization and Land Use

The rapid pace of urbanization has led to the conversion of vast agricultural lands into urban areas. Urban farming provides a means to optimize land use by transforming vacant lots, rooftops, and unused spaces into productive agricultural areas. This helps maximize the utilization of available land resources and promotes sustainable urban development.

3. Environmental Sustainability

Urban farming offers environmental benefits by reducing the carbon footprint associated with conventional agricultural practices. By shortening the distance between food production and consumption, urban farming minimizes transportation emissions. Additionally, techniques such as hydroponics and vertical farming utilize fewer resources like water and pesticides while maximizing crop yields, making urban farming a more sustainable and eco-friendly approach.

4. Community Development and Social Cohesion

Urban farming initiatives foster community engagement and social cohesion. They provide opportunities for people to connect with nature, engage in shared gardening activities, and cultivate a sense of belonging. Community gardens often serve as vibrant gathering spaces, fostering social interactions, and promoting a sense of community pride and ownership.

5. Economic Opportunities and Job Creation

Urban farming has the potential to generate economic opportunities and create jobs, particularly in areas with high unemployment rates. By establishing urban farming initiatives, cities can support local entrepreneurship, create green jobs in agriculture and related industries, and contribute to the overall economic growth of the region.

The Von Thünen Model and Urban Farming

When analyzing urban farming within the context of AP Human Geography, the Von Thünen model provides valuable insights. The Von Thünen model is a theoretical framework that explains the spatial arrangement of agricultural activities around cities. According to the model, intensive, high-value crops, such as market gardening, are more likely to be located closer to urban areas, while extensive, low-value agricultural practices are situated farther away.

Urban farming, especially market gardening, aligns with the principles of the Von Thünen model. By cultivating high-value, perishable crops in close proximity to urban centers, urban farmers can minimize transportation costs and ensure the delivery of fresh produce to local markets. This approach also supports the concept of food sovereignty, where urban communities have greater control over their food systems and reduce dependence on external agricultural sources.

The Role of Urban Farming in the Agricultural Revolutions

The development of urban farming is closely linked to the agricultural revolutions that have shaped human history. AP Human Geography explores these revolutions and their impact on societies. Here, we examine the relevance of urban farming in relation to the second, third, and green revolutions:

1. Second Agricultural Revolution

The second agricultural revolution, which occurred during the 18th and 19th centuries, marked a shift from subsistence farming to commercial agriculture. Urban farming aligns with the goals of the second agricultural revolution by introducing innovative practices and technologies to maximize agricultural productivity. Techniques such as hydroponics, aquaponics, and vertical farming, commonly utilized in urban farming, are reflective of the transformative spirit of the second agricultural revolution.

2. Third Agricultural Revolution

The third agricultural revolution, often referred to as the Green Revolution, took place in the mid-20th century and focused on increasing crop yields through the use of high-yielding varieties, irrigation, and synthetic fertilizers. Urban farming shares the goal of sustainable and efficient food production with the third agricultural revolution. However, it takes a different approach by emphasizing local food production, reducing environmental impact, and promoting community engagement.

3. Green Revolution

The Green Revolution, specifically in the context of AP Human Geography, refers to the application of modern agricultural techniques and technologies to increase crop yields and alleviate food shortages. Urban farming complements the Green Revolution by exploring alternative methods of food production that are resource-efficient, environmentally sustainable, and suited for urban environments.


Urban farming’s significance in AP Human Geography cannot be overstated. Its definition, encompassing a range of agricultural practices within or near urban areas, captures the essence of this growing phenomenon. With its positive impacts on food security, land use, environmental sustainability, community development, and economic opportunities, urban farming stands as a dynamic and relevant subject within the broader field of human geography. By studying and embracing urban farming, we can pave the way for a more sustainable, inclusive, and resilient future.

So, let us explore the realms of urban farming, where the seeds of change are sown, and a greener future takes root.