Giving Compass' Take:

• The author describes the ways in which individuals interested in urban farming can promote the growth of this industry by creating inventory, lobbying for more land, increasing support systems, and creating incentives for farming.

Can urban farmers start creating networks to share best practices and help advance local movements around sustainable agriculture?  

• Read about how urban agriculture is transforming Detroit. 

Urban farmers are part of a global revival. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization reports that 800 million people around the globe grow their own fruits or vegetables, or raise animals in cities, accounting for 15-20 percent of world’s food production.

And while people have grown food in cities for a long time, urban farming has recently gained renewed attention for its social, health, environmental, and economic benefits.

So how do we tap into this renewed attention and help further expand the urban farming movement to feed our growing population? We can do more to promote its growth and success through better tracking, incentives, land use, and support systems.

  • Create inventory. To keep moving in the right direction, we must have firm grasp on the state of the current landscape. In Chicago, for example, a group of individuals, organizations, businesses, and educational institutions have collaborated to map urban agriculture initiatives across the metropolitan area. Their database identifies more than 890 farms.
  • Lobby for more land. Many cities have zoning regulations that exclude agriculture or related activities in urban areas. Thus, to allow urban farming to happen in urban areas, we need more municipal governments to set aside land for urban agriculture. Depending on how cities prioritize land for food over other development initiatives, advocacy groups and local citizens can step in.
  • Increase support systems. Urban farmers need up-to-date knowledge about growing methods, innovative business models, and indoor farming best practices to thrive and remain sustainable.
  • Create incentives for farming. Increasing financial incentives could encourage urban farming to grow. Some public schools, hospitals, and other public institutions like universities receive tax breaks for obtaining a certain percentage of their food from urban farms.

Read the full article on urban agriculture by Esther Ngumbi at Stanford Social Innovation Review