No, World Economic Forum has not pushed for a ban on home-grown food

By: Rahul Adhikari
March 15 2024

Share Article: facebook logo twitter logo linkedin logo
No, World Economic Forum has not pushed for a ban on home-grown food

Social media posts claim that World Economic Forum (WEF) has pushed for a ban on home-grown food. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

A study led by the University of Michigan on the effects of urban agriculture and ways to make it sustainable was misinterpreted and linked to WEF.

Claim ID e5e59cfa

What is the claim?

A viral post on social media falsely claims that the World Economic Forum (WEF) has advocated for a ban on home-grown food to combat climate change. The claim, shared by users on Facebook and X (formerly Twitter) with a screenshot of a news report titled “WEF Pushes Ban on Home-Grown Food to Fight Climate Change,” has gained significant traction. 

One such post garnered over 554,000 views and 12,000 likes at the time of writing. Archived versions of such viral posts can be accessed here, here, here, and here.

Screenshots of the viral posts. (Source: X/Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, the claim is false. The WEF has not endorsed any ban on home-grown food, nor does the study assert that the carbon footprint of home-grown food is detrimental to the planet. The misunderstanding stems from a misrepresentation of a study on the carbon footprints of urban and conventional agriculture, erroneously attributed to the WEF.

What did we find?

The article titled "WEF Pushes Ban on Home-Grown Food to Fight Climate Change," which went viral, was initially published by Slay News—a portal notorious for disseminating articles filled with misinformation and unverified content. According to this article, the World Economic Forum (WEF) is purportedly urging governments to prohibit individuals from growing their own food at home, claiming this contributes to climate change.

The piece further alleges that the WEF sponsored scientists at the University of Michigan to conduct a study, later published in the journal 'Nature Cities.' This study supposedly determined that the carbon footprint from home-grown food is significantly harming the planet.

We found that the objective of the particular study, ‘Comparing the carbon footprints of urban and conventional agriculture,’ was to compare the environmental performance of 73 urban agriculture (UA) sites in Europe and the U.S. to conventional agriculture. The study found that the carbon footprint of food from urban agriculture is six times greater than that of conventional agriculture. However, we found that it does not suggest or advocate for a ban on home-grown food and instead suggests ways to promote UA that are more sustainable, also noting several benefits of UA.

It found that some UA crops (for example, tomatoes) and sites (for example, 25 percent of individually managed gardens) outperform conventional agriculture, based on which the study suggests that “UA practitioners can reduce their climate impacts by cultivating crops that are typically greenhouse-grown or air-freighted, maintaining UA sites for many years, and leveraging circularity.”

“Because of its critical social, nutritional, and place-based environmental benefits, UA is likely to have a key role to play in future sustainable cities, but important work remains to be done to ensure that UA benefits the climate as well as the people and places it serves,” the study concludes.

Study co-author, WEF refute claims

Logically Facts contacted Jason Jake Hawes, the study's co-lead author, for further clarification. He said, "We do not advocate for a ban on home-grown food. Our research aimed to assist gardeners and policymakers in promoting urban food production with a lower carbon footprint. Many of us involved in the study are gardeners, and we wholeheartedly favor expanding urban agriculture initiatives, which are crucial for community resilience and food security."

Additionally, Dai Di, the Media and Public Affairs Lead at the World Economic Forum, confirmed to Logically Facts that the allegations are baseless. "The World Economic Forum does not support any policies that would prohibit food cultivation at home," DI said.

Who funded the study?

We found no evidence that the WEF funded the study. Further, no reports or announcements from the WEF call for a ban on home-grown food.

According to a report by Michigan News from the University of Michigan, the project was backed by the U.K. Economic and Social Research Council, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the French National Research Agency, U.S. National Science Foundation, Poland’s National Science Centre, and the European Union’s Horizon 202 research and innovation program.

Further, Hawes told Logically Facts, “The work was not funded or influenced by the World Economic Forum. It was funded by government research agencies and conducted by a team of independent researchers.”

WEF also refuted the claim and stated, “Regarding the study from the University of Michigan, while it provides valuable insights into the climate impacts of urban agriculture, it is not directly supported or endorsed by the World Economic Forum."

Logically Facts has previously debunked multiple WEF-related false claims and unverified news published by Slay News.

The verdict

The WEF has not advocated for a ban on home-grown food. A study on the carbon footprint of urban and conventional agriculture published by researchers at the University of Michigan was falsely linked to the WEF to make this claim. We found that this study did not suggest or advocate for a ban on home-grown food and instead suggested ways to promote UA that are more sustainable. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

Would you like to submit a claim to fact-check or contact our editorial team?

Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before