Agriculture is typically associated with rural areas, but food systems in urban spaces are a crucial and burgeoning method of food production. In the US, urban agriculture has grown by more than 30% in the last 30 years, and has proven to be an effective tool for community improvement and systemic change. Here’s a look at urban agriculture and the wealth of benefits it offers for communities today.
Urban Farming Definition
The EPA defines urban agriculture—also known as urban farming—as “part of a local food system where food is produced within an urban area and marketed to consumers within that area.” It’s a way to grow food closer to where it’s consumed, and to help bring fresh food to urban areas. Urban farming is a broad concept that includes many agricultural methods that go beyond your typical veggie garden, such as…
- Animal husbandry (e.g., breeding and raising livestock)
- Aquaculture (e.g., fish farming)
- Aquaponics (e.g., integrating fish farming and agriculture)
- Non-food products such as producing seeds, cultivating seedlings, and growing flowers
Typically, we think about farms as being located on a large plot of land, but urban farming usually exists at a small scale that’s adaptive to city life. Urban agriculture can be used in small spaces such as rooftops or balconies, and even on vacant lots. It also commonly makes use of vertical space.
Benefits of Urban Agriculture
The idea behind urban agriculture is relatively simple, yet has potential to be an important part of our food system. Urban farmers are growing food in places where consumers are already living and working, so they don’t need to travel long distances to get their produce. This cuts down on transportation costs, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and provides an inroad for healthy food in communities that may lack access or availability.
Furthermore, urban agriculture boosts local economies and addresses equity issues in marginalized communities. Urban farms help tackle problems of food insecurity, environmental justice, and structural racism. These agricultural initiatives have far-reaching benefits for communities, and can be powerful instruments of social change.
Here at Appetite For Change, we use food as a tool to build health, wealth, and social change in North Minneapolis. We bring people together to learn, cook, eat, and grow food, creating change that lasts. Learn about our own urban agriculture projects and explore what we do for our community. Browse our shop, consider volunteering, or donate today to support our incredible impact in North Minneapolis! Together, we can create well-rooted and flourishing change!