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Agriculture — including horticulture, livestock, fisheries, forestry, and fodder and milk production — is increasingly spreading to towns and cities. Urban and peri-urban agriculture UPA can be defined as the growing of plants and the raising of animals within and around cities.

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Urban and peri-urban agriculture provides food products from different types of crops grains, root crops, vegetables, mushrooms, fruits , animals poultry, rabbits, goats, sheep, cattle, pigs, guinea pigs, fish, etc. UPA includes trees managed for producing fruit and fuelwood, as well as tree systems integrated and managed with crops agroforestry and small-scale aquaculture.


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UPA can make an important contribution to household food security, especially in times of crisis or food shortages. Because locally produced food requires less transportation and refrigeration, it can supply nearby markets with fresher and more nutritious products at competitive prices. Vegetables have a short production cycle; some can be harvested within 60 days of planting, so are well suited for urban farming.

The assumed case of this multifunctionality being an intrinsic quality of agriculture as a result of joint production has been underlined in positive AMF approaches. OCDE [ 4 , 5 ] was probably the first statement who, for legitimacy of policy support to agriculture, adopts the neo-classical economic approach with joint of production of commodities and positive externalities, and market failure for public goods biodiversity, landscape etc. The legal approach, however, considered it to be the result of the plurality of objectives that the agricultural policy considers and is, therefore, a desirable model [ 2 ].

Wilson [ 7 ] criticizes that, depending on the research field, the term multifunctionality has been widely and confusedly conceptualized, and goes from agricultural economy to geography, and even moves on to rural sociology. It distinguishes between the MFA concept [ 11 ], with its more economic-type discourse, and multifunctionality from a broader landscape and ecology perspective [ 14 , 15 ], with discourses based on broader and more holistic interpretations. For the first concepts, we could state that multifunctionality is observed from a sectorial perspective, while the second concept seeks the agricultural-rural areas interrelation, and multifunctionality not only of agricultural activity, but also of lands.

They point at important implications for analytical research tools such as models for agronomic and agro-ecological relations at farm and regional levels. Jongeneel et al. The functions that agricultural land can fulfil include traditional production functions food, feed , an ecological function habitat for wildlife , a cultural function typical landscapes , and a recreation function enjoying landscape, on-farm attractions and accommodation.

Multifunctional agriculture can simultaneously fulfil different combinations of these functions.

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The goods produced by these functions may be marketable food, raw materials, ornamental plants, etc. After indicating that the most important non-agricultural functions that it contributes are to help maintain rural areas and the natural environment in practice this contribution is not easy to measure and is ever-changing. In parallel, conditions are increasingly imposed and society places more value on positive environmental functions of agriculture, which include CO 2 fixation or maintaining biodiversity, two important cases, and recommend instruments that award surfaces, extensification, quality, sustainable development, biodiversity and rural landscapes.

Renting [ 2 ] promotes AMF as a concept and agricultural development course trajectory from an integrated perspective within the sustainable development framework of sustainable development. Reig [ 12 ] explores possible connections between multifunctionality and sustainability by understanding that the multifunctional orientation of agriculture leads to measures being taken to correct market failures and to provide coverage of specific environmental functions protecting biodiversity, landscaping, etc.

All this contributes to develop more sustainable agricultural activity. Chiara [ 17 ] indicates that the most significant components of the non- built-up peri-urban areas in some Italian urban areas, are agricultural lands, which usually fulfil environmental, productive, recreational, water balance, and cultural functions, just as multifunctional agriculture does [ 2 , 18 ]. These multifunctional activities of peri-urban agriculture enrich both the rural and the urban context [ 19 , 20 ].

28 Inspiring Urban Agriculture Projects

Pascucci [ 21 ] defends that the multifunctionality of peri-urban agriculture is performed or materializes in the same way as the rural one, insofar as it is the joint production of activity that is firstly oriented to the direct production of market goods and services food and raw material , but secondly produces goods and services that help land sustainability, preserve biodiversity, and maintain the economic and social vitality of the urban areas in which it is practiced.

Finally, Zasada [ 22 ] finds that MFA has been commonly recognized in peri-urban areas. The multifunctional development paradigm provides an approach that strengthens and modernizes peri-urban agriculture. There is a reasonable demand among the urban public for multiple functions and values from farming. Ecosystem services have often been narrowly defined and restricted to natural ecosystems.

In recent years, the scope of the ecosystem services concept has been extended, and more studies refer to ecosystem services in agricultural systems. Serious discussion about AMF has resulted from political discussion. The extensive academic literature available shows recurring concern for the conceptualization of multifunctionality, discussion about the concept, and the supply and demand of the non-commercial functions attributed to it.

However, they do not represent an alternative set of compact well-defined contributions, with new contributions on multifunctionality [ 23 ]. Nor has a clear definition of the objectives and functions of agriculture beyond the generic economic, social, and environmental ones initially established by the Commission been completed. We reviewed papers that address goods and services of agricultural systems, and that study the peri-urban fringe, its particular characteristics, and especially goods and services related to agriculture.


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Based on our scientific literature review, we adopted a descriptive approach of the functionality of peri-urban agro systems. Agricultural activity plays a key role in the conception of agricultural peri-urban spaces. In developing countries, [1] - agriculture plays an important role in enhancing urban food security and nutrition, local economic development, poverty alleviation, and the social inclusion of disadvantaged groups and sustainable environmental management in cities. This peri-urban scenario is enhanced by AMF. It is not unreasonable to indistinctly talk about the agricultural areas located in urban areas where agricultural activity is a multifunctional economic activity, and about peri-urban areas of disperse urban growth where agricultural activity is actually marginal; that is, in a small space in local interstitial areas, or in an almost continuous urban matrix, but one that is broken by small closed agricultural spaces.

Isolated agricultural areas influence the main agricultural functions, and hence agri-urban development. This isolation is a disadvantage for small fields given conflicts with local inhabitants, high land prices and low income. Non-agricultural work opportunities are scarce, and the share of part-time agriculture and hobby farming is large.

These areas can be termed infra-urban. In these agricultural areas, agricultural land is more available, and the productive, environmental and landscape functions of agriculture are more important. In relation to agriculture, and its multifunctional activity consideration, Reig [ 24 ], considers that it produces a wide range of goods, and includes a diagram to summarize and classify them as public and private.

Private ones include the production of food and raw material of an agricultural origin, rural tourism, and other possible private goods. Public goods are classified as: 1 environmental: protecting landscape values, protecting biodiversity and protecting land, plus controlling erosion; 2 social: contributing to the feasibility of unfavoured rural areas, protecting cultural values in rural areas, and protecting rural areas from population loss.

Specifically for peri-urban agriculture, Zasada [ 22 ] reviews societal demands and the provision of goods and services by farming. Beyond traditional agricultural functions, peri-urban agriculture is increasingly acknowledged for its deliverance of local food, as well as recreational, educational and other social services: Environmental and landscape amenities, Leisure and recreation, Regional food supply which directly, Lifestyle farming, Recreation-oriented diversification, Social farming, Short supply chains and Direct marketing.

It will also defend these functions: territorial equilibrium: fixing a dispersed population in the land to counteract the concentration tendency; creating a social system for activity by developing population settlements and constructed elements to also confer a material value, and historical and cultural interest; it will be a support for infrastructures and more productive economic activities, whose sustainability lies in respecting the natural vocation of various types of ecosystems.

The research by Ivesa and Kendalb [ 26 ] lists the following as components of the value of peri-urban agricultural areas: Culture agricultural land near cities is an important part of cultural heritage , Education farms near cities are important places for people to learn about the natural world, Agricultural land near cities provides good opportunities to teach people about where their food comes from , Environment farmland near cities is important because it protects natural landscapes. The agricultural land closest to where people live is valuable because it contains natural areas not found in the city.

Land near cities used for farming is not a place with worries about protecting native species of plants and wildlife. I like to know that native plants and animals are able to survive on the edge of cities , Aesthetics people enjoy the scenery of agricultural landscapes on the edge of cities.

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It is important that people can see farm animals near where they live , Food security farms near cities should produce food to make sure that people who live there have a secure food supply , Food availability it is important that people have access to food produced near where they live. We can still have a fresh supply of food without preserving agricultural land near cities.

People prefer to buy locally produced food. As a result of studying and analyzing these works, we proposed a descriptive approach of the multifunctionality of peri-urban agricultural systems, and the goods and services they can provide, by differentiating private ones from public ones, and among these, positive and negative externalities. We classified the various functions depending on whether they are economic, social or environmental.

Creating new landscape forms: as a result of the previous point, the generated landscape is unique and irreplaceable, and is, more often than not, high quality. The impact of agricultural activity is attractive landscapes, which is why citizens are very sensitive about their conservation and maintenance.

Conserving biodiversity: the diversity of ecosystems and the ecological processes developed by agricultural practice has led to much heritage being accumulated as biological diversity and ways of life.

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Protecting water resources: in quality terms, distribution in time and quantity for urban, rural, industrial and hydroelectric use by protecting and sustainably using aquifers, springs, and water sources in general, protecting and recovering basins and microbasins, etc. Producing energy: agriculture is a source of biological material and products to generate biomass.

Mitigating greenhouse effect gases by fixing, reducing and storing carbon CO 2 and other greenhouse effect gases. Scenic beauty: it results from the presence of forests, natural landscapes and biodiversity elements that are appealing and act as a basis to develop various forms of tourism: ecotourism, sun-and-beach tourism, scientific, observation and adventure tourism. Maintaining areas such as forests, wetlands, reefs and mangrove swamps to mitigate impacts of disasters caused by flooding, landslides, drought, etc.

Protecting soil: agricultural activity plays a key role in soil formation and soil conservation processes as it favours organic matter accumulation and soil fertilization by nutrient fixation. However, agricultural activity can also have negative effects, or negative externalities, such as: Consuming water resources: Irrigation agriculture consumes vast amounts of water resources, which restricts their availability to other sectors and ecosystems.

In some cases, aquifer overexploitation can have very negative effects on nearby ecosystems, which can even disappear. As for quality of water resources, irrigation agriculture, but also intensive farming, has caused major problems by contaminating aquifers because growing concentrations of leached nitrates accumulate. Thus, practices need to be introduced that help minimize these effects, implement more efficient irrigation technologies, and help minimize and correct the negative externalities that diffuse pollution generates.

Healthy safe food: Irrigation agriculture, especially horticulture, intensively uses phytosanitary products: fungicides, herbicides, insecticides and phytoregulators. Its use of others types is more restricted, such as nematicides, acaricides, etc. They can spell enormous problems from the presence of waste in food, persistence and accumulation problems in soil which, through leaching, can affect bodies of water. As regulations progressively tighten the use of these substances, they are used less. The inclusion of good agricultural and livestock practices, and an agriculture that respects ecological and integrated production systems, are not only necessary to comply with laws, but to also meet new consumer food trends; and to attend consumers who are concerned about the health of food, traditional production with traditional varieties and cultivars that offer excellent taste quality, production by applying traditional more enviro-friendly working techniques, and production obtained from family-run farms related with traditional ways of life in a nearby agricultural space that offers good quality of life.

Regarding the use and enjoyment of peri-urban agricultural spaces as recreational and entertainment spaces, outsourcing activities is feasible in such a way that some surfaces would no longer remain agricultural, but would be occupied for other uses, termed land activities which, by adding value, sum complementary income to the primary value. Such activities include rural tourism as various ecotourism forms, sun-and-beach tourism, scientific, observation and adventure tourism: e. Accordingly, the positive effects set out in the previous section that agricultural activity has on land also apply to such spaces.

All goods and services are classified according to whether they are economic, social or environmental. Up to 12 generic services are defined, which are subdivided into 22 functions and 22 goods and services. This is contemplated as a descriptive approach to AMF as a basis to later carry out empirical analyses on peri-urban agricultural systems.

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The public goods that agriculture generates differ from some agricultural systems to others depending on different aspects of the environment, agricultural practices, etc. Consequently, the supply and demand of public goods is extremely heterogeneous. Regarding the joint production characteristic, interdependence exists between agricultural production and production of other goods NMGS , regardless of their technical or biological nature. Moreover, some production factors exist from which several different outputs are obtained, which cannot be separately assigned to each one.

Reig [ 9 ] considers that joint production is related with the production techniques applied, environmental conditions, technology and the subsequent allocation of resources, etc. Supply will be more heterogeneous as a result of differences between the physical basis climate, soil type, quality of irrigation water, etc. The fact that externalities exist and that market failure is acknowledged will trigger intervention.

However, knowledge about the joint production process is essential to select and design intervention instruments that can promote the production processes or systems that generate the positive externalities or public goods that are in demand [ 27 ].