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Urban Agriculture: Frequently Asked Questions

How many members are on the Committee, and what do they do outside of the Committee?

There are currently over 200 individuals on the email list. The membership is as diverse as that of the CFSC itself: urban farmers, grassroots activists, public health, anti-hunger and sustainable/organic agriculture professionals, staff and directors of related non-profit organizations (many focused on youth development), community development specialists, academicians and college students. Members of the CFSC Board of Directors have traditionally been active Committee members and a new staff liaison has been working with the Committee, thus ensuring communication and collaboration with the Coalition at various levels.

Is Urban Agriculture strictly "urban?"

Although the community gardens with which many are familiar are most commonly found on vacant or otherwise underused land in the central areas of cities and towns, urban agriculture operations can also be found on larger sites in suburban and suburban fringe. Regardless of the site, a key attribute of urban agriculture is that it shortens the distance between producer and consumer; thus the modest yield of the small urban farm of less than an acre that distributes its harvest within its surrounding neighborhood is balanced in value by the greater product of a farmer on the metropolitan fringe whose consumers may live within a 60-minute drive.

How "new" is Urban Agriculture?

Fresh food has been grown in cities for as long as cities have existed. In the United States, "potato patch" farms were established on urban vacant sites in the late nineteenth- and early twentieth centuries a early form of social welfare. These were followed by the victory gardens created during World War I and World War II, and more recently by the community gardens created through the social activism of the 1970s. What is "new" about today's urban agriculture is the identification of its practitioners and advocates with the larger community food security movement.

How can I learn more about Urban Agriculture?

In 2002 the Committee developed an urban agriculture "primer", titled, Urban Agriculture and Community Food Security in the United States: Farming from the City Center to the Urban Fringe (pdf download). This document gives an overview of urban agriculture and its connection to community security.

There are many organizations in North America working on issues related to urban agriculture and the Coalition's links page indicates several.

Websites of particular note are:

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