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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Urban agriculture and the prospects for deep democracy

The interest in and enthusiasm for urban agriculture (UA) in urban communities, the non-profit sector, and governmental institutions has grown exponentially over the past decade. Part of the appeal of UA is its potential to improve the civic health of a community, advancing what some call food democracy. Yet despite the increasing presence of the language of civic agriculture or food democracy, UA organizations and practitioners often still focus on practical, shorter-term projects in an effort both to increase local involvement and to attract funding from groups focused on quantifiable deliverables. As such, it seems difficult to move beyond the rhetoric of food democracy towards significant forms of popular participation and deliberation within particular communities. In this paper we provide a theoretical framework—deep democracy—that helps to contextualize nascent attempts at civic agriculture or food democracy within a broader struggle for democratic practices and relationships. We argue that urban agriculture efforts are well positioned to help citizens cultivate lasting relationships across lines of difference and amidst significant power differentials—relationships that could form the basis of a community’s collective capacity to shape its future. We analyze the theory of deep democracy through recent experiences with UA in Denver, Colorado, and we identify ways in which UA can extend its reach and impact by focusing more consciously on its political or civic potential.

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Urban agriculture and the prospects for deep democracy

The interest in and enthusiasm for urban agriculture (UA) in urban communities, the non-profit sector, and governmental institutions has grown exponentially over the past decade. Part of the appeal of UA is its potential to improve the civic health of a community, advancing what some call food democracy. Yet despite the increasing presence of the language of civic agriculture or food democracy, UA organizations and practitioners often still focus on practical, shorter-term projects in an effort both to increase local involvement and to attract funding from groups focused on quantifiable deliverables. As such, it seems difficult to move beyond the rhetoric of food democracy towards significant forms of popular participation and deliberation within particular communities. In this paper we provide a theoretical framework—deep democracy—that helps to contextualize nascent attempts at civic agriculture or food democracy within a broader struggle for democratic practices and relationships. We argue that urban agriculture efforts are well positioned to help citizens cultivate lasting relationships across lines of difference and amidst significant power differentials—relationships that could form the basis of a community’s collective capacity to shape its future. We analyze the theory of deep democracy through recent experiences with UA in Denver, Colorado, and we identify ways in which UA can extend its reach and impact by focusing more consciously on its political or civic potential.

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