As part of the "Zurich isst" month of events, the Research Institute for Organic Agriculture (FiBL) organised a talk on "How big an area do Zurich and other cities need for food production?"on the 3rd of September 2015.
Dr Catherine Darrot from the Agrocampus in Rennes, France presented the results of research carried out in Strasbourg and Rennes. A comparison with the cities of Zurich (Otto Schmid) and Basel (Adrian Moser) using modelling put the findings in a European perspective. Per person between 0.15 - 0.35 ha of land is needed for food production. Organic agriculture requires a little more surface area than conventional production methods. Vegetarian diets, or simply reduced meat consumption, take up a lot less land.
Agricultural areas in the City of Zurich currently cover today only 2%– 4% of the main food needed of the city inhabitants (excluding roof areas and urban gardening). However the city farms have multiple other important functions for a city. A higher local food autonomy of a city (e.g. 10-30% from suburban farms) would mean that agricultural structures and eating habits would have to be adapted.