Historically, urban households supplemented the family diet by growing produce although there has been a transition from growing food to relying on the local supermarket for supplies. In parallel, urban populations have grown continuously and there are now more people living in cities than elsewhere. Consequently, agricultural lands are being increasingly transformed into urban landscapes where there is increasingly limited space for a garden to supplement the household diet. In Australia, for example, this is in stark contrast to reliance of the backyard garden that occurred from first colonisation through to after the post-World War II. 

However, in the recent decades, there has been an increased interest in growing in ‘healthy foods’. However, the amount of food that can be grown in the backyard has diminished with a trend towards smaller urban allotments and a widespread preference for units and townhouses rather than the ‘1/4 acre block’.  

With the continued increase in urbanisation and associated loss of agricultural lands and, for example, commitments of world leaders to reduce carbon emissions in response to Climate Change, the need for transition to greater urban self-sufficiency will become a reality. This is evidenced, for example, by the Cuban transition to urban agriculture with the introduction of strict trade sanctions. However, on the current trajectory of denser populations, resilience will be more difficult to achieve. The current transition ‘back to the future’ to more sustainable lifestyle may become a more widespread imperative with, for example, the increasingly interest in ‘healthy foods’, and the reduction in use of fossil fuels, for example, as a response to climate change or terrorism. To achieve this will require changing the current preconceptions of urban landscapes and thus government policies. It is therefore imperative that those who influence the development of urban communities recognise the need for urban sustainability.