Mahan Salim og Kamran Surizehi
Prior to the industrial revolution, feeding cities was a major logistical concern as it was hard to preserve and transport food without it spoiling before it reached its destination. Therefore agriculture was always located in close proximity to cities. While importing food over waterways with ships was somewhat easier, transporting food over land was difficult as roads were not as smooth as they are today. Livestock could be located further away from the city, as they could be brought into the city by foot, or rather by hoof, through drovers’ roads. In London, Smithfield was famously a large meat market where the cattle that were brought into the city were slaughtered on site in makeshift butcher shops. As Carolyn Steel points out in “Hungry City” published in 2008, this relationship the city had with its meat and produce source made it impossible for the citizens of London to be ignorant of where the food originated (Steel, 2008, p. 68). Steel adds that having livestock within the city comes with its own set of problems and although the idea of slaughtering animals in the middle of a city is not a pleasant image, it is a more honest approach than the out of sight and out of mind approach of today. There was essentially no distinction between urban
and rural agriculture, they were just different stages of the same process. According to Steel this was the situation with most cities founded before the industrial revolution. The areas where agriculture took root were so important to its citizens that places like Smithfield
remain as a market to this day.
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