Urban agriculture, long a part of American agricultural production, may have the potential to bolster the farm sector’s ability to transition to a sustainable future and may help reduce the agricultural industry’s environmental footprint.
Urban agriculture has long been a part of the American farm industry. Farmers during World War Two, for example, planted Victory Gardens to supplement their diets and increase available resources for the war effort. During the Great Depression and other moments of economic difficulty, Americans could plants small backyard gardens as ways to guarantee access to food.
In recent years, urban farming has gone from a tool to be used in national emergencies to an increasingly important part of the economy.
Major cities have seen urban farming as a way to revitalize crumbling city centers. Places like Detroit have embraced the movement, turning vacant city lots into small gardens, creating desperately needed jobs and boosting municipal incomes.
Some farm advocates and environmental groups also see urban farming as a way to boost production in environmentally friendly ways. In addition to requiring fewer pesticides and posing less of a burden on the soil and waterways, urban farms can help absorb heat, combating the heat island effect of many large cities and reducing energy consumption.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer