"Sustainable cities and communities" is one of the UNs sustainable development goals. Today, more than half of the world's population live in cities and by 2050 an estimated 70 % will live in urban- or peri urban areas. A master's degree in urban agriculture will educate candidates who contribute to developing sustainable cities and communities. Urbanization has great consequences for emergency preparedness (food security and food safety), sustainable waste management, protection of urban environments and people against storm water, high temperatures, noise, pollution, transport, energy access etc. Urban agriculture is seen as an important piece of the overall multi-functional, sustainable, “blue-green” (water and environment) structure. Connected “blue-green” areas make the city greener and more robust to face the environmental challenges of the future, the increased loss of species and a more efficient land use. In addition, within urban agriculture there is a focus on social inclusion through facilitation of social meeting places, activity-promoting measures, increased participation, co-creation and increased collaboration between public/private enterprises. This has positive social ripple effects both in neighborhoods and in the urban environment at large.
Through its disciplines originating in the primary industries agriculture and forestry, NMBU has unique qualifications for contributing relevant knowledge to the field of urban agriculture. Today, NMBU’s course portfolio goes far beyond the original discipline areas, and our current field of expertise is developed to solve the challenges of today and tomorrow within sustainable food production and environmental management. This field of expertise includes economy, social sciences, environmental management, natural sciences, production and technology, and applied sciences. This interdisciplinary profile is necessary to develop the integrated and sustainable solutions, which can give us a more climate friendly and environmental politics for the future. In an international context, green technologies and small-scale agriculture is seen as an exciting concept to introduce sustainable strategies to the development of the cities of the future.
Urban agriculture is now a world-wide trend. Countries in the South has for a long time understood the advantages of small-scale agriculture in urban areas. Food has been produced in such environments always. One example is Havana in Cuba where 60 % of all consumed vegetables is grown within the city borders. In Europe, the EU Commission is strengthening programs on integrated solutions for circular economy. The EU defines urban agriculture as an important mainstay for circular economy. Urban agriculture offers several circular and sustainable solutions for modern agriculture. The discipline is in general developing and new forms of production in urban areas are under development. This includes growing on rooftops, using buildings in general for growing, utilizing basements temporary areas and buildings. New ways of producing are also developing, for instance vertical farming and aquaponics – which is a good fit for urban environments.