By Ruby Maddox
When we think of Urban Agriculture, most people tend to think of community gardens; vast networks of gardens and gardeners in places like Boston, New York, and DC. When we think of Urban Agriculture Organizations some folks might recall Urban Farmer and McArthur Genius award recipient, Will Allen and his Growing Power organization in Milwaukee or the People’s Grocery in Oakland CA.
For many urban communities, urban agriculture offers sense of hope for what is possible in neighborhoods with high rates of poverty, divestment, and health disparities. Urban Ag has become a tool for activism. It brings together communities to address issues of food justice , racism, and unequal access to goods and services. Rohit Kunar’s article, How Urban Agriculture Is Revitalizing Local Economies, cited the many ways in which urban agriculture is working to improve urban communities and our economy.
Getting youth involved in changing our food system is key to achieving Food Justice and creating healthier urban communities. Across the country urban communities are coming together reclaiming open spaces and using them to grow food for the community and encourage youth leadership. Below are just 3 organizations you should know about.
Poughkeepsie Farm Project
(From their Website) The Poughkeepsie Farm Project is a non-profit organization that works toward a just and sustainable food system in the Mid-Hudson Valley by operating a member-supported farm, providing education about food and farming, and improving access to healthy locally-grown food.
Poughkeepsie Farm Project runs a program called City Seeds is an intensive educational program that trains future farmers; provides youth from urban areas with hands-on farming, gardening and cooking experiences; and produces and distributes regionally-adapted and open-pollinated seeds while sharing knowledge about seed saving. Through City Seeds, young people have opportunities to engage in meaningful, skill-building work while learning to:grow food,save seeds make a difference in their communities and the food system.
Acta Non Verba
Located Oakland, California and started by Executive Director Kelly Carlisle, Acta Non Verba teaches youth how to grow and sell vegetables inside the city. All funds generated from the sale of the produce is then invested into bank accounts for the participating youth.
Gardening the Community
And of course, Gardening the Community(GtC). GtC is a food justice organization in Springfield, Massachusetts engaged in youth development, urban agriculture, and sustainable living to build healthy and equitable communities. Not only an organization, GtC is a community within a community reaching across a diverse demographic of Pioneer Valley residents to an urban oasis.
Tell Me about a Youth Urban Agriculture Program in your Neighborhood