Urban Agriculture: Its place in resiliency.

Urban Agriculture: Creating Healthy, Sustainable Communities in D.C. |  Article | EESI
A close-knit community garden is being tended to in Washington D.C.

Taking urban agriculture into ones’ own hands may be a difficult task, but if there is a community involved, people who want to help create a better homestead will be ready. In the article from Science Direct, it talked about the diverse ways to create a better place for urban agriculture, the positive impacts it can have on the immediate society surrounding it, and the ways it can bring resiliency to the community. “Urban agriculture has been considered a critical tool for poverty alleviation and survival strategies” (Nabulo, Black, 2012). Those involved in the urban farm have left handprints, memories, and created ways to bounce back from negative events that may have occurred in the town. Having a place that is cemented in the community and known for bringing people together, harbors resiliency throughout the land.

Keeping Positivity in Agriculture

Ferreira writes how urban agriculture can combat noise pollution, air pollution, and create biodiversity. The number of positives that come with urban agriculture may seem too good to be true or those who are advocating for it could not be properly informed and therefore, misguide newcomers. Using new technology, having resources and references to stand by ones’ claims, develops the incentive in a dramatic way. By educating the residents and community, the people around the farm may see it as a sanctuary and somewhere to get food that is tangibly good for them. But the draw backs on creating urban agricultural spaces are: the amount of work, the type of work being done and where it will all begin. “Even just considering economic benefits, urban agriculture is practiced against a backdrop of a general lack of support services given to farmers” (Ferreira, Guilherme, 2018). Having workers in the agriculture space is a feat in itself, but when it comes to having people who will come back and want to be a part of this society, the crops grown there, are going to be the anchor. Workers need to be paid a proper wage, perhaps have benefits and incentives to keep coming back for a place that will give back to them.

Keeping the Soil Alive is just as important as Keeping the Community Alive.

The soil and land that will be used have had such an immense history, that it is difficult to know what has happened to the soil. “Soils from urban areas often contain toxic elements, such as heavy metals and PCBs…” writes Lorena de Oliveira. If the crops grown on tainted soil are not good, then the work that has been done, will go to waste and the founders will have to start from the ground up. Using the land available is easy, but once the soil has proved to be full of materials not suitable for people to plant crops in, it becomes unusable for those who need food and need the food nearby. Testing the soil to make sure it is safe prior to purchasing land or renting it, can increase the chance of having a long-lasting urban farm that will influence a community positively.

 References:

Ferreira A., Mendes Guilherme R., Ferreira C., Lorena de Oliveira M. Urban agriculture, a tool towards more resilient urban communities? 2018. Current Opinion in Environmental Science & Health. 5(93-97). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.coesh.2018.06.004.

G. Nabulo, C.R.B. Black, J. Craigon, S.D. Young. Does consumption of leafy vegetables grown in peri-urban agriculture pose a risk to human health? Environ Pollut, 162 (2012), pp. 389-398.

2 thoughts on “Urban Agriculture: Its place in resiliency.”

  1. I think you touched on a very important aspect of urban agriculture, gaining community support and long term commitment. Without community support it will be an uphill battle starting a small farm in an urban setting. Some people may not have a positive image of agriculture and would prefer to see different uses of available land in their community. I agree with your point that its important to have tangible references and examples while trying to make a case for urban ag. as people are likely to need convincing that it will be a benefit to them and their neighborhood. Having long term support and people to actually work the farm is vital to the operations success, but having the ability to pay competitive wages is likely to be a challenge.

  2. There is indeed a lot of work that goes into an urban farm, starting from acquiring the land to the labor needed to maintain the farm. However, I believe that the benefits can be mostly good for the environment. Regarding environmental benefits, when there is a local source of food production, there will be a shorter distance to travel to sell and buy the food. So, you won’t need to burn as much fossil fuels driving your car to buy groceries when the produce is nearby. Additionally, the grower won’t need to drive miles and miles to transport the food to the store because it will all be local. Like you mentioned, farms can filter out air pollution which a big problem in cities with all the driving we do. Depending on the design of the farm, it can bring a lot of benefits such as improving water filtration or become a habitat for pollinators. A poorly designed farm can bring devastating impacts on the environment like runoff that can pollute nearby water sources. Overall, if an urban farm employs sustainable practices and designs the farm to prevent potential environmental problems, the benefits to the environment would be great.

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