- Education and Training: display, focus group, mentoring, networking, participatory research
- Farm Business Management: land access, new enterprise development, whole farm planning
- Sustainable Communities: community development, employment opportunities, ethnic differences/cultural and demographic change, leadership development, local and regional food systems, partnerships, public participation, public policy, quality of life, social networks, urban agriculture
Initiatives and policy have encouraged sustainable agriculture in cities across the United States, yet farmers and gardeners still face multiple environmental, economic, and social challenges unique to their urban context. For agriculturalists who identify as racial, gender, and ethnic minorities, these challenges are often amplified and compounded by cultural, historical, and socio-economic barriers. Little research has examined how urban farmers and gardeners navigate these challenges and craft successful sustainability strategies. To fill this gap, this project will first identify strategies that urban farmers and gardeners use to develop and maintain sustainable operations, and the extent to which these strategies also lead to positive community development, improved business networks, and enhanced local leadership. Second, the project will determine how nonprofit organizations, extension personnel, and government programs can most effectively work with urban growers to create and sustain community-based food systems. Ultimately, the project will develop evidence-based recommendations for practices and procedures that encourage sustainable urban agriculture and improved productivity and profitability in the Northeast region. To do so, primary qualitative data will be collected through interviews and a unique form of participatory research called “photovoice” – a critical tool for facilitating conversation about sensitive topics such as race, class, and gender. Results will be disseminated through presentations and publications made available through project collaborators, a traveling photography gallery to be displayed at agricultural education and networking events across the region, and through peer-reviewed academic journal publications.
Project objectives from proposal:
Objective 1: Identify the strategies that urban farmers and gardeners use to develop and maintain sustainable operations, and the extent to which these strategies also lead to positive community development, improved business networks, and enhanced local leadership.
Objective 2: Determine how urban farmers and gardeners work with nonprofit organizations, extension services, government programs, and fellow agriculturalists to create and sustain sustainable community-based food systems.
Objective 3: Develop evidence-based recommendations for practices and procedures that promote sustainable urban agriculture and improved agricultural productivity in the region, to be distributed to farmers, nonprofit organizations, extension personnel, academic researchers, and public policy officials.
Objective 4: Create a travelling photography gallery that will engage the broader community of agriculture producers and consumers by highlighting the challenges and opportunities for sustainable agriculture practice in urban areas, to be displayed at a minimum of three (3) agricultural education and networking events in the Northeast region.