Declining Populations = Increasing Urban Farms

Urban Farm

“The current European experience of declining population with more deaths than births will apparently be extended to the entire world, causing serious world economic problems about the year 2015 and world population decline about the year 2030.”

Yep, we’re starting to see horror stories  in the media about declining populations.  In Japan, Singapore, China, Italy, Russia., cities in the US.  The media, and their corporate masters, seem terrified of this trend.  “Ohmygod,” they’re screaming, “ The economy is going to collapse!  Whatever will we do with no more cheap labor for us to exploit?  Have more babies, quick!”

We are living on a planet that  can comfortably support One Billion people.  The current population is Six Billion.   A little decline in the population sounds like a great idea to me.  And it presents interesting opportunities in those niches that a declining population opens up

In rust belt cities like Detroit, Buffalo and Milwaukee the population decline has led to some interesting adventures in agriculture.   In Buffalo (where I was born)  urban pioneers are turning vacant lots in the city into farms, bakeries and community gardens.  A farming friend of mine recently moved back there to set up a farm.  When I hear back from her I will be doing an extensive post about her activities.

In Detroit empty warehouses are becoming fish farms.  Even in the face of local government officials (the City Planner of all people!) who think that this is “not the kind of development we need”.  WTF ???? as my kid would say.  Feeding people,  providing jobs, using unused space?  What kind of development do you want, you sanctimonious jerk????

In Milwaukee Will Allen, a MacArthur Foundation Fellow,  is encouraging people to do the same thing but on a bigger scale.  He has inspired others to start growing veggies hydroponically and using the watery environment to grow fish at the same time.   Even the Wall Street Journal featured it in an article back in 2010.

So lets hope that the Zunia site is correct and the entire world sees a decrease in population, starting sooner than 2030 would be even better.   I have no doubt that the economy will find ways to adjust to this demographic trend and agriculture will be part of that adjustment.  Once again farmers going with the flow, thinking on their feet, adapting, adjusting and flourishing.

2 responses to this post.

  1. The real issue is declining independence. Most people in the United States used to grow their own food and harvest their energy needs, themselves. In the urban environment, raising food and cutting firewood don’t really fit the needs of families, the way they do in a rural environment. The day of the urban manufacturing economy has run it’s course. This is why we see step0s taken to restoring rural aspects of life to the urban environment.


    • Excellent insight George. Thanks for sharing. I heard a guy on “Living on Earth” the other day talking about vertical farming in the city. All hydroponics. I am going to have to mull that one over for awhile. He claimed it was totally sustainable with something called a “plasma arc gasifier” to recycle the waste. I just keep hearing this little voice in my head saying “technology is not going to save us”. Anyhow thanks for the comment.


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