'Jam jar farm’ events will highlight how to grow more food in cities

Innovations that could help us grow more food in cities will be the focus of a new hands-on exhibition in Newcastle.

Sustainable urban food production

Taking place as part of the Future Homes display at The Core, Newcastle Helix, students and researchers from Newcastle University will showcase advances in sustainable urban food production such as hydroponics and artificial soils.

The exhibition will include free weekly events where visitors will get hands-on experience of making their own ‘Jam jar city farm’ - a mini hydroponic system that they can then take home. The activities are aimed at families and have been designed with North Tyneside group, the Station Masters Community Wildlife Garden, a community-led project next to Whitley Bay metro station.

Many parts of the world, including Britain, could face a food crisis as soils lose fertility or vanish altogether and biodiversity declines at unprecedented rates.

In recent years, consumers have been urged to be more thoughtful about what they eat and farmers to farm in a way that is more harmonious with nature, yet still productive. But there is little awareness of the problem and there continues to be a gap in understanding between most consumers and producers.

Dr Elisa Lopez-Capel, an urban soil scientist at Newcastle University, said: “As the global population grows, we have to find new ways of producingnutritious foodfrom resilient agricultural systems. With more people living in urban areas, those systems have to work in innovative and sustainable ways – such as using recycled materials and vertical planting and growing plants without soil. This exhibition will highlight some of the technologies that could transform how and where we produce our food and the changes that each of us individually can make.”

Future homes

The exhibition will complement some of the themes of the Future Homes exhibition, including smart cities that use digital technology and low energy systems.

Part of the Great Exhibition of the North and sponsored by Newcastle Building Society, Future Homes showcases new ways to build, power and tailor our homes to make them more sustainable. Visitors can learn more about these ideas by stepping inside a virtual reality home and explore liveable solutions that offer people responsive housing in a community setting.

The Future Homes exhibition runs at The Core, Newcastle Helix every day until 9 September. The free ‘Jam jar city farm’ events will take place every Friday to Sunday throughout August from 11.00am. No booking is required.

For information about other events organised by Newcastle University as part of Great Exhibition of the North, visit https://www.ncl.ac.uk/events/great-exhibition-of-the-north/

(Original article from Newcastle University)

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