Generally speaking, urban farming is the cultivation of food crops in urban areas. It is also the processing, distribution and sale of food products in these areas. In most cities of developed and developing nations, urban agriculture takes place. In some countries, it includes fisheries and forestry.
Increases physical and emotional health
Whether you’re in the know or not, urban farming has a lot to offer your community. For one thing, it’s a holistic approach to public health, and a great way to get kids and parents involved in the community. Getting more people involved in the food chain is one way to ensure that a community grows and survives. The best part is that you don’t have to be a farmer to get involved.
A community garden is one of the more obvious ways to get involved. These gardens can range from private to public, and often involve volunteers, paid staff and the like. The most successful programs take advantage of the communal nature of urban farming by employing a community-based design approach. This is a great way to ensure that fresh produce and other local produce are available for everyone, and that the food is fresh and of a high quality.
In addition to providing fresh food for a community, urban farming can also provide the social connections and job opportunities that are hard to come by elsewhere. This is particularly true of those with a shortage of good jobs, or a dearth of opportunities for those with a particular set of skills. As such, the benefits of urban farming are likely to be long-lasting. Aside from providing a much-needed boost to the local economy, many farmers have only recently considered the potential social, cultural, and environmental impacts of their operations. The right program can help your local community navigate these minefields.
Provides access to fresh food
Increasing access to fresh food is essential for improving diets, preventing diet-related diseases, and contributing to economic health of communities. Urban farming is one way to make this possible. It contributes to a healthy, green, and safe environment while providing access to fresh fruits and vegetables. It also helps communities develop strong social networks, reduce crime, and create jobs. Urban farming is an emerging movement that is cropping up in cities across the country.
Urban farming offers many benefits to low-income communities, including the creation of jobs, opportunities for cross-cultural learning, and opportunities to participate in the local economy. These benefits can be achieved through private, community, and public programs. Urban farming programs are receiving funding from federal and state government as well as private sources. In addition, urban farming projects can include community gathering spaces, food preparation classes, and educational workshops.
Urban farming provides access to fresh food for many of the most vulnerable communities in our country. It also helps reduce food deserts. Food deserts are areas where people do not have access to healthy food at affordable prices. Urban farming projects are also a great way to reduce food waste and pollution. It can also increase the amount of fruits and vegetables consumed by households. Providing access to fresh food in underserved communities is a key component of the Healthy Diets for Healthy Communities initiative.
One urban farming project in eastern Massachusetts donates 48,668 pounds of produce to anti-hunger organizations. The produce is distributed at four farmers’ markets in the area. The program is also doubling down on efforts to produce culturally important foods. These efforts include sourcing hard-to-find seeds for gardeners and mobilizing to address immediate food security needs in Lowell, Massachusetts.
Urban farms are typically small, with a few employees. These operations sell produce to corner stores, grocery stores, and community co-ops. They often operate on parking lots or other undeveloped land. They also provide opportunities for youth leadership, cross-cultural learning, and community building.
Urban farming projects can be run by individuals, or by organizations that purchase land in trust for urban farming. There are several urban agriculture programs that focus on youth and formerly incarcerated individuals. Urban farmers also have the opportunity to contribute to a more sustainable food system by reducing waste, diverting organic waste into compost, and using sustainable gardening methods to keep food safe to eat. Urban farms can also contribute to food security by reducing the number of food deserts in our nation.
Urban farming has been associated with increased dietary diversity and adequacy in developing countries. Providing access to fresh fruits and vegetables helps households meet public health nutrition guidelines at the household level. Urban farming also contributes to climate resilience by adding green space to urban communities. In addition, urban farming helps to reduce the number of fires and trash in urban communities.
Stimulates local economy
Often located in low-income neighborhoods, urban farms offer major social and economic benefits. These include job training, increased access to healthy foods, reduced crime rates, increased voter registration, and community revitalization.
Local governments are implementing urban agriculture-friendly policies and providing financial support for projects. This can include providing land, funding for training programs, and access to water and tools. Some urban farms are focused on jobs, while others are focused on community revitalization or supplemental income generation.
Several urban farms are located in communities of color. This is a critical opportunity for local governments to increase the economic benefits of urban agriculture in these communities.
Local, state, and federal governments can tap into various programs offered by federal agencies and state bond initiatives to help finance urban farming. For example, the Department of Labor Work Opportunity Tax Credit incentivizes private-sector hiring of formerly incarcerated individuals. Another program, Fidelity Bonds, provides no-cost Fidelity Bonds to reassure employers that formerly incarcerated individuals are willing to work for them.
Governments can also support urban agriculture through tax incentives, donations of supplies, and through government-based grant programs. These programs provide assistance with infrastructure investment and ongoing operating support. In addition, cities can revisit their zoning codes and other policies to make urban agriculture more welcoming. In addition, there are numerous resources available to teach farmers business skills.
A new crop of urban farmers are turning around communities across the country. One example is City Slicker Farms, which was awarded a $4 million grant through a state park bond. The organization plans to open a 1.4-acre urban farm park in April, and has been working with local residents to create the park. In addition, Mill City Grows is mobilizing to address immediate food security needs in Lowell, Massachusetts. It will double down on its efforts to produce culturally important foods.
The recent recession has caused some communities to lose their homes, but urban agriculture can provide an alternative for families to spend their money. By replacing paved surfaces with vegetation, urban farmers can help ease cooling needs. They can also divert organic waste into compost. By extending the growing season, farmers can increase net revenues.
The Department of Labor Work Opportunity Tax Credit can also support urban farming initiatives. Incentives for hiring formerly incarcerated individuals can help employers to avoid hiring individuals with criminal backgrounds.
Cities can also help support urban agriculture by adopting policies that promote community health and economic opportunities. For example, Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods is inventorying the locations of community gardens and community kitchens. It also prioritizes accessibility for all residents.
Cities can also create incentives for urban farming projects by authorizing contracts with private landowners or dedicating land for farming operations. This can provide security for the long-term use of the land. In addition, local governments can help identify vacant lots and provide access to water and tools. They can also help to clear contaminated land.