Urban agriculture (UA) is steadily gaining supporters worldwide, and this is partly because constantly growing urban populations recognize the need to increase food production and promote a healthy diet. UA can also generate extra income, promote socialization leading to valorisation of urban areas. Nevertheless, UA faces several challenges, including limited available space, stressed natural resources, pollution in a context characterized by climate change and new consumption patterns. At the same time, if UA is practiced in the same way as other forms of agriculture, it may have some undesirable environmental impacts on urban areas. The use of indicators can provide decision makers with a tool to evaluate the sustainable insertion of agriculture in cities. This work aims to propose a minimum set of indicators as the basis for an index to assess progress of urban vegetable production towards sustainability. Nineteen urban sustainability indexes, composed of several indicators founded in the literature and already used by several institutions, were analysed. These indexes were broken down into a set of 1579 indicators. Analysis of the relevancy to issues such as food, energy, water, land and pollution, and the selection based on the criteria of being measurable, sensitive to stress, predictable, anticipatory, controllable, integrative, responsive and stable, led to a 26 basic indicators selection. These are proposed as the basis for an innovative UA sustainability index. This will be built based on the Delphi method and is intended to support communities in establishing sustainable and resilient cities.
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