Urban Agriculture

Rooftop garden London
Urban agriculture helps to address local food insecurity issues in cities and suburban areas. Growing food in cities can take the form of backyard, roof-top and balcony gardening, community gardening in vacant lots and parks (sometimes spanning several city blocks), roadside urban fringe agriculture, livestock grazing in open space and intensive indoor hydroponic or aquaculture facilities. Urban agriculture eases access to food, reconnects communities to the practice of growing food, and engages the community on a variety of levels. (USDA Climate Hubs)
USDA Announces Inaugural Federal Advisory Committee on Urban Agriculture | USDA (2022-Feb-01)

USDA. Farmers.gov

"Urban agriculture generally refers to the cultivation, processing and distribution of agricultural products in urban and suburban settings, including things like vertical production, warehouse farms, community gardens, rooftop farms, hydroponic, aeroponic, and aquaponic facilities, and other innovations. Urban farmers and gardeners work among diverse populations to expand access to nutritious foods, foster community engagement, provide jobs, educate communities about farming, and expand green spaces."

Urban Agriculture Toolkit  ( PDF | 8.7 MB )

U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Urban Agriculture 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.​

USDA. Natural Resources Conservation Service

Resources, success stories, and contact information to get started in urban agriculture with assistance from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

USDA. Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Surveys, links and guides including the Urban Soil Primer - an introduction to urban soils for homeowners and renters, local planning boards, property managers, students and educators.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Information and publications from the EPA on urban agriculture. 

"Urban Agriculture is part of a local food system where food is produced within an urban area and marketed to consumers within that area. Urban farming can also include animal husbandry (e.g., breeding and raising livestock), beekeeping, aquaculture (e.g., fish farming), aquaponics (e.g., integrating fish farming and agriculture), and non-food products such as producing seeds, cultivating seedlings, and growing flowers. Urban farms can also contribute to the revitalization of abandoned or underutilized urban land, social and economic benefits to urban communities, and beneficial impacts on the urban landscape" (EPA).

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Focuses on brownfield redevelopment for urban agriculture projects. Outlines steps for starting a project; links to success stories and current urban agriculture projects; identifies information and resources available from federal agencies and non-governmental organizations; posts frequent questions and answers; and identifies presentations and other educational materials.

National Center for Appropriate Technology. ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

"Urban and community agriculture is reshaping local food systems across the country. Urban farmers and gardeners are creating new opportunities for increasing the economic, social, and environmental effects of growing food in and around cities. There are many benefits to growing food in urban areas, such as fewer food miles, improved food access, and education and training opportunities." This site provides information on accessing land, capital, markets, and other informational resources gauged at helping the new urban farmer succeed.

National Conference of State Legislatures.

Find recently enacted state legislation related to "various aspects of urban agriculture – gardening in urban areas, food hubs, and statewide coordination." Includes related reports and statutes.

Partnership for Sustainable Communities.

The Handbook provides guidance on developing a business plan for the startup and operation of an urban farm, including defining marketing, operating, and financial strategies. It focuses on the use of brownfields or vacant sites to help address food access, neighborhood blight, or community development challenges. Includes Urban Farm Business Plan Worksheets.

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