The global population is now more than 7 billion, and that figure is projected to rise to 9 billion by 2050. In addition, more than half of people now live in cities and towns, and in the UK that figure is far higher at around 80% of the population.
As a consequence of this, the environmental footprint of a city or town greatly exceeds its physical footprint, and there is a heavy reliance on imported food and energy. Understanding ways to reduce this environmental footprint, by using some of a cities greenspace for own-grown food or woody (short rotation coppice) biofuel production, could greatly improve the sustainability and resilience of our urban ecosystems.
MYHarvest is a really important part of a five year research project funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council that aims to answer several key research questions, including:
1. Does urban own-grown food production make a significant contribution to UK food security and what is the potential within the existing urban greenspaces to increase own-growing space?
2. What is the potential for biofuel production using short rotation coppice, in urban greenspaces across the UK?