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Accepted Paper:

Digitally mapping the urban agroecology of Maidstone, Kent, UK for greater crop and wildlife diversity  


Howard Lee (Hadlow College)
William Hughes (Hadlow College)
Pamela Worrall (Hadlow College)

Paper short abstract:

Biodiversity should be at the heart of sustainable urban food production. We report on a digital mapping exercise for Maidstone, Kent which combines community food sites with multi-source mapping. Generated maps are helping develop an integrated biodiversity management plan for crops and wildlife.

Paper long abstract:

It is hypothesised that the food security of Britain needs the development of diverse, urban agroecological systems that integrate crops and wildlife. It is further posited that this will require the mapping of urban centres linked to food projects and supported by digital technologies. Whilst urban food mapping is well advanced (e.g. Kremer & DeLiberty, 2011; European Commission, 2016) and urban biodiversity assessments are known (e.g. Zari, 2019) there have been only limited policy reviews that combine crop and wildlife diversity (e.g. Frison, 2016). More research is proposed, with case-studies supported by broad spectrum digital sensing and mapping.

This project develops the combined studies approach further:

1. A survey of Maidstone to identify sites suitable for biodiverse urban horticulture, utilising digital and other remote sensing options including maps, satellite imagery, council archives, local interviews and ground-truthing;

2. Community-led food production sites in Maidstone, organised by the Kent Wildlife Trust in collaboration with Maidstone Borough Council and supported by Hadlow College horticulture specialists. These sites will explore the maximum production potential of protected and open horticulture systems and associated companion wildlife;

3. Combine 1. and 2. above to generate maps that can help plan towards the provision of the basic fruit and vegetable requirements of Maidstone's 170,000 citizens and integrate this with optimal wildlife biodiversity;

4. Critique the challenges and opportunities of this approach for the generation of sustainable urban agroecosystems, which offer sustainable food supplies and enhanced wildlife biodiversity for Maidstone and other towns and cities.

Panel MA01b
Mapping the Edible City: Making visible communities and food spaces in the city