Comprehensive Plan Needed for NYC's Urban Agriculture

With 700 urban farms and gardens in New York City, a new report calls for a comprehensive approach to managing the city's urban agriculture, and offers recommendations for maximizing coordination between city agencies and urban farmers.
September 30, 2012, 1pm PDT | Andrew Gorden
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The report, called "Five Borough Farm: Seeding the Future of Urban Agriculture" seeks to coalesce key stakeholders in support of urban agriculture. Jared Green reports, "[t]he project seeks to create a comprehensive 'road map' with the goal of helping stakeholders - policymakers, community groups, farmers, and designers - 'understand and weigh the benefits' of urban agriculture, while making a compelling case for significantly ramping up local government support for this growing field. Basically, if you've been looking for a thorough examination of all the policy aspects of urban farming, this is it."

The benefits of urban gardening have been well-understood for some time, and the practice has been growing in popularity across the U.S. "But, unfortunately, in New York and so many other cities, there's still a disconnect between official policy and the bottom-up grassroots movement being led by gardeners, farmers, and landscape architects," writes Green.

Some of the greatest "obstacles to future growth" include challenges in obtaining resources (soil, growing space, tools), financing, and race and class issues. Proponents hope a comprehensive approach will help increase local government support, financing, and promote a better understanding of urban agriculture's role in the city's economy and public health.

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Published on Tuesday, September 25, 2012 in Grist
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