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Urban agriculture is the practice of cultivating, processing, and distributing food in or around a village, town, or city. Urban agriculture can also involve animal husbandry, aquaculture, agroforestry, and horticulture. These activities also occur in peri-urban areas as well. Urban agriculture can be understood as the cultivation, processing, marketing and distribution of food, forestry and horticultural products that occur in built-up ‘intra-urban’ areas. The broader term, urban and peri-urban agriculture, is typically used to describe all urban food production systems, both in the built up areas and along ‘peri-urban’ zones or ‘fringes’ of cities and towns on public, private and communal or customary land. In most cases, UA and UPA are both used to describe, conceptually, the same type of occurrence or phenomenon. What may seem to be a lack of conceptual clarity can actually be viewed as a strength, where variation in socio-economic and environmental conditions allow for local innovation, offering ‘best practice’ examples of UA /UPA systems and policy approaches. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that the diversity of UA /UPA production systems is a reflection of the various cultural, political, geographic, economic and climatic conditions where it is found. Such diversity in people, places and production systems has led to several useful definitions of UA /UPA. It should be no surprise that its complexity, purpose and benefits to practitioners and ecosystems vary in the global north and south. When observing urban agriculture as a distinct typology, there appears to be significant differentiation in its practice, reflecting varying levels of economic and social development. In the global north it often takes the form of a social movement for sustainable communities, where organic growers, ‘foodies’ and ‘locavores’ form social networks founded on a shared ethos of nature and community holism. These networks can evolve when receiving formal institutional support, becoming integrated into local town planning as a ‘transition town’ movement for sustainable urban development. In the developing south, food security, nutrition and income generation are key motivations for the practice. However, in both areas, it largely exists as an informal activity that is too often discouraged by city planners and health officials who view the practice as a rural activity, misplaced in urban areas, and harbinger of malaria, disease and other public hazards. The persistence of global hunger and malnutrition in the rapidly urbanising global south could see UPA emerging as a formal initiative. (via Freebase)