IELTS READING LEVEL 7.5 – Urban Farms

Urban Farms

by Susannah Edelbaum

 

Many people wrongly think that cities don’t have farms and that fruits and vegetables are only grown in the country. Believe it or not, there are more and more urban farms popping up in cities all over the world.

Alexandra Sullivan, a food systems researcher in New York City, studies urban agriculture. Urban agriculture is another name for farming and gardening in a city environment. Ms. Sullivan studies everything from tiny gardens in empty lots between buildings to bigger fields that have been planted and cultivated. According to Ms. Sullivan, “Urban agriculture has existed since cities have, across the world.”

The number of humans living in urban areas, or cities, is increasing. The amount of people who want to garden in urban areas is also rising. Ms. Sullivan says, “In small gardens, on rooftops and indoors, city residents grow fruits, vegetables, grains, and herbs, and raise animals to produce dairy, eggs, honey, and meat. City residents use these foods as supplements [additions] to food produced by rural agriculture.” Even though some people who live in urban areas grow crops, urban residents still need to rely on food grown in rural areas. This is because a city doesn’t have enough space to grow enough food for everyone living in it.

In New York City, urban farmers have come up with many different ways to grow their own produce, even though there isn’t a lot of room. For example, Brooklyn Grange is a farming operation that has two rooftop vegetable farms in New York City. All together, the farms are made up of 2.5 acres of rooftop space. This makes Brooklyn Grange one of the largest rooftop farming operations in the world.

Brooklyn Grange grows tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, kale, chard, herbs, carrots, radishes, and beans. The farming company sells its vegetables to local residents and restaurants. And because the farms are on rooftops, they are specially adapted to their urban location. They use available space that is not needed for anything else. As more urban farmers find ways to grow food in cities, urban residents will be better able to get fresher ingredients for their meals.


Vocabulary

 

adapt       a ·dapt

Advanced Definition

transitive verb

  1. to make fit or suitable for a particular need or condition; adjust.

They adapted the reading room so they could hold meetings there.

The school water fountains are adapted for children.

intransitive verb

  1. to become adjusted.

The children of the immigrants adapted quickly to their new surroundings.

Spanish cognate

adaptar: The Spanish word adaptar means adapt.

These are some examples of how the word or forms of the word are used:

  1. As the air began to heat up quickly around planet Earth, animals needed to adapt.
  2. The farther back in a cave, the more you find creatures have adapted to cave life.
  3. Another way animals adapt to life in the rainforest is by camouflaging themselves to hide from predators.
  4. No longer tied to the land, the marine reptiles could fully adapt to living in the ocean and compete with sharks and other big fish.
  5. Natural selection allows animals that have traits best suited to a particular environment to survive and produce offspring. Animals who are unable to adapt to changes in their environments die off
  6. Another interesting variable that lets organism populations adapt to changing environments is mutation in genes. Sometimes, unpredictable changes in genetic code will appear within a new generation, not traceable back to a parental source.
  7. Before the breakup of Pangaea, many scientists believe, all of life was situated in one ecosystem, and did not have any reason to adapt to change. Once Pangaea broke up, it was possible for evolution to happen at an increased rate.
  8. But Emine was determined to adapt to the city’s frenetic energy. On her first evening in Cairo, she took a stroll from her hotel to the banks of the Nile, and watched the boats bobbing lazily on the water. Away from the traffic, people strolled and laughed quietly; the palm trees whispered in the wind, and Emine felt calmer.
  9. Conservative Jews believe in the traditional beliefs and values of Judaism. The difference is that they adapt these beliefs to fit the times. This form of Judaism was developed in the mid 1800s. Conservative Jews follow many of the same rules as Orthodox Jews. However, they are more willing to change the rules if they feel it is needed.
  10. In some ways, diabetes has made me a more responsible person. It keeps me in line. It teaches me about life. If a cure for diabetes is found, that would be great. But in the meantime, I’m doing OK. It’s just part of who I am. I’veadapted.

 

agriculture       ag ·ri ·cul ·ture

Definition

noun

  1. the science or activity of farming. Agriculture includes raising crops and animals for food.

Advanced Definition

noun

  1. the raising of crops and livestock, or the science connected with improving the processes involved.

With improved methods of farming, agriculture flourished in the area.

With little industry or technology, the country relies on agriculture for its primary means of support for its people.

Spanish cognate

agricultura: The Spanish word agricultura means agriculture.

These are some examples of how the word or forms of the word are used:

  1. Over the next thousand years, the people of the Southwest settled down gradually. They stopped living in caves and shallow pits, and began building homes. They moved from a strictly hunter-gatherer culture to one increasingly dependent on agriculture, growing beans and domesticating animals like turkeys.
  2. The second third of this century has been a time of proud achievement. We have made enormous strides in science and industry and agriculture. We have shared our wealth more broadly than ever.
  3. Ancient Egyptians are now revered as the masters of desert agriculture, for their irrigation technology allowed them to cultivate crops during the dry months, from a fall-season sowing to springtime harvest.
  4. Believe it or not, soil is actually a valuable and nonrenewable resource, as it contains nutrients and minerals crucial for agricultural
  5. “It is imperative that we increase honey bee survival both to make beekeeping profitable,” the statement noted, “but more importantly to meet the demands of U.S. agriculture for pollination and thus ensure of [sic] food security.”

 

urban       ur ·ban

Advanced Definition

adjective

  1. of or pertaining to a city or town.
  2. situated or living in a city.
  3. typical of or accustomed to the city or city life.

Spanish cognate

urbano: The Spanish word urbano means urban.

These are some examples of how the word or forms of the word are used:

  1. Those that survived were so poor that they had little choice but to stay in whatever city the boat they traveled on docked at. The urban areas where they ended up settling were very different from Ireland, for reasons beyond the geography and color of the landscape.
  2. Deforestation of lands for agriculture and development has rendered large regions of the world unproductive. The effect is amplified in areas that are used for urban development, where the ground is covered with a layer of asphalt or concrete.
  3. The previously hilly island that had thousands of trees on it has simply been exchanged for an urban ecosystem containing different things that serve the same function as many others that are called more “natural.”
  4. After the gold rush, San Francisco was the largest city in the United States west of the Mississippi until it was overtaken by Los Angeles in 1920. However, the city continues to support a large urban population and owes much of its success to both its history and unique location.

Name: ___________________________________ Date: _______________
Comprehension Questions
1. What is urban agriculture?
A. farming and gardening in the country
B. a term for cities that have farms
C. farming and gardening in a city environment
D. a method of growing food indoors
2. What does the passage describe?
A. how to grow potatoes and beans on a roof
B. agriculture in urban environments
C. the history of urban agriculture
D. technology used in urban agriculture
3. Urban agriculture cannot serve as the only food source for a large city. What evidence from the passage supports this statement?
A. “This is because a city doesn’t have enough space to grow enough food for everyone living in it.”
B. “In New York City, urban farmers have come up with many different ways to grow their own produce, even though there isn’t a lot of room.”
C. “In small gardens, on rooftops and indoors, city residents grow fruits, vegetables, grains and herbs, and raise animals to produce dairy, eggs, honey and meat.”
D. “Brooklyn Grange grows tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, kale, chard, herbs, carrots, radishes, and beans.”
4. Based on the text, what is a common challenge urban farmers face?
A. Growing produce during water shortages.
B. Keeping urban farms safe from city residents.
C. Fighting against cities’ laws that ban urban agriculture.
D. Finding the right space to grow their produce.
5. What is this passage mostly about?
A. farming in city environments
B. the advantages of urban agriculture
C. how people can begin their own urban farm
D. the rooftop gardens of Brooklyn Grange
6. Read the following sentence: “In New York City, urban farmers have come up with many different ways to grow their own produce, even though there isn’t a lot of room.”
What does “produce” most nearly mean as used in this sentence?
A. foods grown in the country
B. foods made with sugar
C. fruits and vegetables
D. desserts and drinks
7. Choose the answer that best completes the sentence below.
The number of people living in urban environments is increasing. ________, the
number of people in cities who want to start urban farms and gardens is increasing.
A. As a result
B. In addition
C. Initially
D. However
8. How long has urban agriculture existed?
_______________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________
9. Give an example of a place where urban farmers can grow their own produce.
_______________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________
10. Explain how and why urban farms adapt to their city environment. Support your answer using information from the passage.
_______________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________

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