Gardens and health implications for policy and practice

This report was commissioned by the National Gardens Scheme in 2015. Its intention is to contribute to the understanding, assessment and development of the links between gardens, gardening and health. It sets out the evidence base on how gardens and gardening relate to health across the life-course. It highlights how, at different points in the health and social care system, gardens and gardening can make a strong contribution to keeping us well and independent.

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Urban agriculture and the sustainability fix in Vancouver and Detroit

Both Vancouver, British Columbia, and Detroit, Michigan, have significant and growing urban agriculture movements. In this article, I follow recent work investigating the connection between urban agriculture and neoliberalization to determine how these local governments have used urban agriculture in narratives of economic development to selectively pursue a sustainability fix. I analyze how different regimes of local governance have influenced the urban agriculture movements, leading to local, hybridized fixes that adapt to different material and discursive contexts in each place. I argue that in both cities, urban agriculture has radical potential as a grassroots response to economic and environmental injustice, but has also been enrolled as a device by the local state in which the primary goal of sustainability planning becomes enhanced economic competitiveness. Pursuing an agenda of food justice requires examining the larger context and effects of municipal involvement with food movements. (2016). Urban agriculture and the sustainability fix in Vancouver and Detroit. Urban Geography: Vol. 37, No. 2, pp. 163-182. doi: 10.1080/02723638.2015.1056606

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The City as an « Agricultural Powerhouse »? Perspectives on Expanding Urban Agriculture from Detroit, Michigan

In recent years urban agriculture has received increasing support as a strategy for food security and urban sustainability. Scholars have explored motivations for and experiences of individual community gardens, but there is little understanding of how more extensive urban agriculture activities might be perceived among residents or might integrate with the cityscape. This research explores ways in which urban agriculture might be perceived in relation to the urban eco-system and sociopolitical context through semi-structured interviews and focus groups in Detroit, Michigan. Results reveal widespread support for expanding urban agriculture and highlight the lines along which such expansion may be contested, including the extent to which it should occur, the purpose it would serve, and the people it would involve.(2012). The City as an 'Agricultural Powerhouse'? Perspectives on Expanding Urban Agriculture from Detroit, Michigan. Urban Geography: Vol. 33, No. 3, pp. 348-369. doi: 10.2747/0272-3638.33.3.348

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Restoring Urban Fringe Landscapes through Urban Agriculture: The Japanese Experience

This paper advocates the re-establishment of garden zones both in and around cities. Mixed land-use garden zones are conceptualized as spaces where urban residents can craft their own local food cultures and agro-biographies in response to the globalization of agriculture and food consumption. The case for creating garden zones is made by first outlining the legacy of post-war growth and planning policies, which attempted to clearly demarcate the line between urban and agricultural use. And, second, investigating the current demographic shifts which threaten the existence of domestic agricultural production and necessitate a new pro-urban agriculture planning paradigm. To develop this new planning paradigm, the third section looks back at the city of Edo to identify the urban agricultural heritage of what is now the modern-day megalopolis of Tokyo. The fourth section demonstrates the need for multifunctional green spaces by presenting a number of examples of agro-activities in both urban and suburban areas of the greater Tokyo area. The final section concludes the paper with a discussion of the need for a new type of garden zone: a hybrid zone where the mixing of urban and agricultural uses is encouraged. (2010). Restoring Urban Fringe Landscapes through Urban Agriculture: The Japanese Experience. disP - The Planning Review: Vol. 46, Metropolitan Peripheries, pp. 51-59. doi: 10.1080/02513625.2010.10557086

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Urban Agriculture Toolkit

Urban farmers, federal and city government agencies, and local organizations around the country have developed a variety of tools to help address those challenges and assist the growth of agriculture in cities. This toolkit makes these resources available to anyone interested in participating in urban farming. The toolkit lays out the common operational elements that most urban farmers must consider as they start up or grow their operations. It also contains a special section on resources for developing indoor growing operations, such as aquaponic facilities. For each element, the toolkit identifies technical and financial resources that have been developed by federal, state, and local partners. While some of the elements require local-level solutions (e.g. zoning), federal programs and services can support a variety of activities related to urban farming.

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A REVIEW OF THE BENEFITS AND LIMITATIONS OF URBAN AGRICULTURE

Urban agriculture has become a popular topic for metropolitan areas to engage in on a program and policy level. It is touted as a means of promoting public health and economic development, building social capital, and repurposing unused land. Food policy councils and other groups that seek to position urban agriculture to policy makers often struggle with how to frame the benefits of and potential problems with urban agriculture. In some cases, the enthusiasm is ahead of the evidence. This review provides an overview of the documented sociocultural, health, environmental, and economic development outcomes of urban agriculture. Demonstrated and potential benefits, as well as risks and limitations, of this growing field will be discussed. We also offer recommendations for further research to strengthen the scholarship on urban agriculture.

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Urban agriculture: connecting producers with consumers – British Food Journal: Vol 118, No 3

Urban farming is becoming more common in the USA, as food-based entrepreneurs seek to make money farming in the city. Yet many urban farms are concerned with other factors in addition to food production, and thus have incorporated social goals into their missions. The purpose of this paper is to identify the social missions of urban farms in the USA, their extent, and explores differences and similarities among farms with varying missions. Design/methodology/approach – The authors use primary data collected from a 2012 national survey of urban farmers in the USA. In total, 35 questions, covering the 2012 farm year, targeted production and marketing practices, risks and challenges, information and technical assistance needs, farm size and location, age of primary farmer, and farm characteristics. A multinomial logistic model was used to analyze the social missions of urban farms in the sample. Findings – The authors find that food production is an essential part of the mission for all urban farms...

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Urban agriculture: connecting producers with consumers – British Food Journal: Vol 118, No 3

Urban farming is becoming more common in the USA, as food-based entrepreneurs seek to make money farming in the city. Yet many urban farms are concerned with other factors in addition to food production, and thus have incorporated social goals into their missions. The purpose of this paper is to identify the social missions of urban farms in the USA, their extent, and explores differences and similarities among farms with varying missions. Design/methodology/approach – The authors use primary data collected from a 2012 national survey of urban farmers in the USA. In total, 35 questions, covering the 2012 farm year, targeted production and marketing practices, risks and challenges, information and technical assistance needs, farm size and location, age of primary farmer, and farm characteristics. A multinomial logistic model was used to analyze the social missions of urban farms in the sample. Findings – The authors find that food production is an essential part of the mission for all urban farms...

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Urban agriculture: connecting producers with consumers

The authors find that food production is an essential part of the mission for all urban farms. Some farms have social missions, as well, which the survey results indicate are related to food security, education, and community building. The authors find that all urban farms, regardless of their mission, are relatively small and face similar challenges in terms of providing the primary farmer with a living. Farms with explicit social missions, relative to those with a strict market orientation, donate a higher share of food from their farm and are less likely to own farmland. Urban farms located in with lower median income are more likely to have social goals related to building community or improving security food security.

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Lead in Urban Soils: A Real or Perceived Concern for Urban Agriculture?

Urban agriculture is growing in cities across the United States. It has the potential to provide multiple benefits, including increased food security. Concerns about soil contamination in urban areas can be an impediment to urban agriculture. Lead is the most common contaminant in urban areas. In this paper, direct (soil ingestion via outdoor and indoor exposure) and indirect (consumption of food grown in Pb-contaminated soils) exposure pathways are reviewed. It is highly unlikely that urban agriculture will increase incidences of elevated blood Pb for children in urban areas. This is due to the high likelihood that agriculture will improve soils in urban areas, resulting in reduced bioavailability of soil Pb and reduced fugitive dust. Plant uptake of Pb is also typically very low. The exceptions are low-growing leafy crops where soil-splash particle contamination is more likely and expanded hypocotyl root vegetables (e.g., carrot). However, even with higher bioaccumulation factors, it is not clear that the Pb in root vegetables or any other crops will be absorbed after eating. Studies have shown limited absorption of Pb when ingested with food. Best management practices to assure minimal potential for exposure are also common practices in urban gardens. These include the use of residuals-based composts and soil amendments and attention to keeping soil out of homes. This review suggests that benefits associated with urban agriculture far outweigh any risks posed by elevated soil Pb."

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Lead in Urban Soils: A Real or Perceived Concern for Urban Agriculture?

Urban agriculture is growing in cities across the United States. It has the potential to provide multiple benefits, including increased food security. Concerns about soil contamination in urban areas can be an impediment to urban agriculture. Lead is the most common contaminant in urban areas. In this paper, direct (soil ingestion via outdoor and indoor exposure) and indirect (consumption of food grown in Pb-contaminated soils) exposure pathways are reviewed. It is highly unlikely that urban agriculture will increase incidences of elevated blood Pb for children in urban areas. This is due to the high likelihood that agriculture will improve soils in urban areas, resulting in reduced bioavailability of soil Pb and reduced fugitive dust. Plant uptake of Pb is also typically very low. The exceptions are low-growing leafy crops where soil-splash particle contamination is more likely and expanded hypocotyl root vegetables (e.g., carrot). However, even with higher bioaccumulation factors, it is not clear that the Pb in root vegetables or any other crops will be absorbed after eating. Studies have shown limited absorption of Pb when ingested with food. Best management practices to assure minimal potential for exposure are also common practices in urban gardens. These include the use of residuals-based composts and soil amendments and attention to keeping soil out of homes. This review suggests that benefits associated with urban agriculture far outweigh any risks posed by elevated soil Pb."

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Resolving differing stakeholder perceptions of urban rooftop farming in Mediterranean cities: promoting food production as a driver for innovative forms of urban agriculture

Abstract Urban agriculture (UA) is spreading within the Global North, largely for food production, ranging from household individual gardens to community gardens that boost neighborhood regeneration. Additionally, UA is also being integrated into buildings, such as urban rooftop farming (URF). Some URF experiences succeed in North America both as private and community initiatives. To date, little attention has been paid to how stakeholders perceive UA and URF in the Mediterranean or to the role of food production in these initiatives. This study examines the promotion and inclusion of new forms of UA through the practice of URF and contributes to the nascent literature on the stakeholder and public perceptions of UA. It seeks to understand how those perceptions shape the development of new urban agriculture practices and projects. Barcelona (Spain) was used as a Mediterranean case study where UA and URF projects are growing in popularity. Through semistructured interviews with 25 core stakeholders, we show that UA is largely perceived as a social activity rather than a food production initiative, because the planning of urban gardens in Barcelona was traditionally done to achieve leisure and other social goals. However, several stakeholders highlighted the potential to increase urban fertility through URF by occupying currently unused spaces. As a result, the positive valuation of URF depends on the conceptualization of UA as a social or food production activity. In turn, such conceptualization shapes barriers and opportunities for the development of URF. While most UA-related stakeholders (e.g., food co-ops, NGOs) preferred soil-based UA, newer stakeholders (e.g., architects) highlighted the economic, social and environmental opportunities of local and efficient food production through innovative URF.

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Resolving differing stakeholder perceptions of urban rooftop farming in Mediterranean cities: promoting food production as a driver for innovative forms of urban agriculture

Abstract Urban agriculture (UA) is spreading within the Global North, largely for food production, ranging from household individual gardens to community gardens that boost neighborhood regeneration. Additionally, UA is also being integrated into buildings, such as urban rooftop farming (URF). Some URF experiences succeed in North America both as private and community initiatives. To date, little attention has been paid to how stakeholders perceive UA and URF in the Mediterranean or to the role of food production in these initiatives. This study examines the promotion and inclusion of new forms of UA through the practice of URF and contributes to the nascent literature on the stakeholder and public perceptions of UA. It seeks to understand how those perceptions shape the development of new urban agriculture practices and projects. Barcelona (Spain) was used as a Mediterranean case study where UA and URF projects are growing in popularity. Through semistructured interviews with 25 core stakeholders, we show that UA is largely perceived as a social activity rather than a food production initiative, because the planning of urban gardens in Barcelona was traditionally done to achieve leisure and other social goals. However, several stakeholders highlighted the potential to increase urban fertility through URF by occupying currently unused spaces. As a result, the positive valuation of URF depends on the conceptualization of UA as a social or food production activity. In turn, such conceptualization shapes barriers and opportunities for the development of URF. While most UA-related stakeholders (e.g., food co-ops, NGOs) preferred soil-based UA, newer stakeholders (e.g., architects) highlighted the economic, social and environmental opportunities of local and efficient food production through innovative URF.

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