CFSC Urban Agriculture Committee
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Introduction | What
We Do | Additional Reading | Call Archive | Get
Introduction to Urban Agriculture and the UA Committee
There are many ways to define urban agriculture. Currently, the
CFSC Urban Agriculture Committee is using the following
Urban Agriculture is the growing, processing, and distributing
of food and other products through intensive plant cultivation
and animal husbandry in and around cities.
(from Martin Bailkey & Joe Nasr, "From Brownfields
to Greenfields: Producing Food in North American Cities,"
Community Food Security News, Fall 1999/Winter 2000, p.
The Community Food Security Coalition Urban Agriculture Committee came into being at the Coalition's 1998
Conference in Pittsburgh. This committee was one of several
focusing on specific areas within the Coalition's overall
agenda, such as Policy, Farm-to-School, and Training &
Technical Assistance. Since then, the UA Committee has
been among the Coalition's most active units, particularly
in advocating for urban food production within a number
of broader food policy initiatives. Committee members
conduct important research into the current state and
future prospects for urban agriculture, represent the
CFSC at many conferences and professional events, and
work closely with the American Community Gardening Association
(including serving as ACGA Board members).
In 2002 the Committee developed an urban agriculture "primer" (pdf) as the Coalition's position paper on urban agriculture. Committee members have since produced fact sheets
based on the primer to targeted audiences such as urban planners and
health professionals. This is an active committee with participation
from urban agriculture practitioners in both United States and Canada.
Membership in the Committee is open to all Coalition members
interested in urban agriculture and its role in promoting community
food security. The primary vehicle for Committee interaction is the
monthly conference calls to which all members are invited to
participate. In August 2003, a Committee listserv (URBANAG) was created
through Tufts Universityto communicate and share information among
At the Vancouver CFSC/FSC in October 2011, a group of urban agriculture practitioners began a new initiative, the North American Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture Alliance, which has since been re-named Metro Ag Alliance for Urban Agriculture. Work on this initiative has continued ever since.
What Does the UA Committee Do?
The Committee reviews policy and advocates for
urban-ag-friendly changes and additions at the local, state and national
levels; and brings together urban agriculture practitioners for
discussion and to gather information about what is going on in urban
agriculture nationally. We produce informational materials which elevate
awareness about urban agriculture. We are in the process of surveying
urban ag list-serve members to determine what activities would be of
most benefit to them, and will redefine our path once the survey is
The Committee activities identified to date include:
- Raise the profile of urban agriculture as a tool
for reaching Community Food Security in partnership
with ACGA and other constituencies.
- Promote the relationship of between community food
security and urban agriculture at the national policy
level with organizations that do not address urban agriculture,
such as, Congress, United States Department of Agriculture
(USDA), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Environmental
Protection Agency, Cooperative Extension, and Sustainable
Agriculture Research and Education (SARE).
- Promote urban-based food systems and develop producer-consumer
links within cities.
- Develop relationships between those working on community
garden initiatives and those working on urban agriculture
- Promote urban agriculture to community leaders involved
in urban planning and policymaking.
- Educate the public, urban planners and policy makers
on how urban food systems, including community gardens,
promote healthy food, community empowerment, and greening
- Develop urban agriculture as a tool to increase access
to ethnic and indigenous food cultures within cities.
- Offer urban agriculture courses, workshops and conferences.
- Distribute written and multi-media materials such
as the urban agriculture primer and fact sheets and
develop further communication tools.
- Host an urban agriculture listserv to communicate
activities of the Committee and encourage discussions
on urban agriculture issues.
- Strengthen local governmental policy efforts to plan
for growth and transportation, conserve farmland, provide
local food security, support urban agriculture, and
meet health and public safety needs.
- Build liaisons to existing and new coalitions and
use urban agriculture as one way to make these linkages. Examples
for potential links include: child nutrition forums,
anti-poverty organizations, faith communities, sustainability
coalitions, public health and environmental networks,
community development movements, smart growth and transportation
Urban Agriculture Publications & Additional Reading
Conference Call Archive
- April 2016 (mp3)
Speakers Erika Allen of Growing Power Chicago and
Harry Rhodes of Growing Home discuss Chicago's proposed urban
- March 2016 (mp3)
Speakers Martin Bailkey and Marcia Caton Campbell
discuss their new report for the American Planning Association. Read more about the report.
- December 2015 (mp3)
Speaker Josephine Williams discusses the zoning
and health code policy work in Memphis, TN; highlights from the New
Orleans CFSC conference urban agriculture policy short course; MetroAg
Alliance update; Policy update on Greening Food Deserts Act and the
Federal Farm Bill.
- September 2015 (mp3)
Speaker Kimberley Hodgson from the American
Planning Association; strategizing how to get more sponsors for HR 3225 -
An Act for Community Gardens.
- August 2015 (no recording)
Speaker Travis Hall, the farm manager of Gateway
Greening, St. Louis; update on Greening Food Deserts legislation; update
on CFSC conference short course.
- June 2015 (no recording)
Speaker Maggie Gosselin discusses the implications of her recent report, Beyond the USDA: How other government agencies can support a healthier, more sustainable food system (PDF), on urban agriculture policy work.
- May 2015 (no recording)
Speaker Pamela Martin, University of Chicago,
discusses the Feeding the City project, which is examining the energy
use and greenhouse gases associated with small-scale sustainable
agriculture; legislative updates on H.R. 4971 and H.R. 3225; development
of outline & speaker suggestions for Urban Ag short course at the CFSC Annual Conference.
- April 2015 (no recording by request of the speaker)
Matt Kaplan, from Rep. Marcy Kaptur's office,
discusses the representative's recently-introduced Greening Food Deserts
Act and how we might interface with the bill.
- March 2015 (mp3)
Updates; brainstorming proposals for the CFSC Annual Conference in October.
- February 2015 (mp3)
Speaker Katherine Kelly, Kansas City Center for
Urban Agriculture, co-founder of the Growing Growers Training Program
and the Farmers Community Market at Brookside, discusses her efforts to
develop the Kansas City food system.
- January 2015 (mp3)
Speaker Ann Carroll from the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency Office of Brownfields & Revitalization, discusses
how to avoid environmental contamination in urban growing and the
opportunities available through the brownfield program; presentation on
progress on the Childhood Nutrition Reauthorization, given by Alan Hunt
of Local Food Strategies.
EPA Brownfield Grant Factsheets:
Examples of groups that have turned brownfields into gardens:
- December 2014 (mp3)
- November 2014 (mp3)
Speaker Ken Meter of Crossroads Resource Center
discusses the economic development potential of urban agriculture.
- October 2014 (mp3)
- September 2014 (mp3)
Speaker Kimberley Hodgson, American Planning
Association discusses what planners are doing to promote urban
agriculture; strategy discussion on how to get more sponsors for HR
3225, Community Gardens Act of 2014.
- August 2014 (mp3)
Review of the recent ACGA conference; legislative update on H.R. 3225; committee updates.
- July 2014 (mp3)
Speaker Jen Blecha, head of the Local Foods
Program at a non-profit in St. Paul, the Minnesota Project, talks about
the work she has been doing around ordinances and regulations that have
encouraged (and hindered) urban agriculture (followup from June 2014
- June 2014 (mp3)
- April 2014 (mp3)
Presentation & discussion about Homegrown
Minneapolis; brainstorm on how to address frequent questions on zoning;
conference submission planning for upcoming ACGA & CFSC conferences.
- March 2014 - Recording (mp3) | Notes (PDF)
Updates; brainstorming potential presentations for
the upcoming American Community Gardening Association conference in
- December 2013 (mp3)
- November 2013 - Recording (mp3) | Notes (PDF)
Discussion with Alan Hunt, Northeast Midwest
Institute, about federal policy opportunities for promoting urban
How to Get Involved
Urban Agriculture Committee members communicate mostly through a
committee list (URBANAG) and by monthly conference calls. CFSC members (join today)
can subscribe to the UA Committee's list by following the Elist steps
outlined below. For questions about the committee's activities contact
Committee Co-Chairs Betsy Johnson, (617) 536-1711, [email protected]
or Cynthia Price, (231) 739-6397, [email protected].
Subscribe to URBANAG elist
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send email to: [email protected] (Note: You must be subscribed to post a message to the list.)
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one by going to the Elist Reminder page.
A password will be sent to you allowing you to log onto
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a new password).
In case of problems or for other assistance in using this
URBANAG Elist, you may contact [email protected]