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Global Urban Agriculture

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There has been growing attention paid to urban agriculture worldwide because of its role in making cities more environmentaly sustainable while also contributing to enhanced food access and social justice. This edited volume brings together current research and case studies concerning urban agriculture from both the Global North and the Global South. Its objective is to help bridge the long-standing divide between discussion of urban agriculture in the Global North and the Global South and to demonstrate that today there are greater areas of overlap than there are differences both theoretically and substantively, and that research in either area can help inform research in the other. The book covers the nature of urban agriculture and how it supports livelihoods, provides ecosystem services, and community development. It also considers urban agriculture and social capital, networks, and agro-biodiversity conservation. Concepts such as sustainability, resilience, adaptation and community, and the value of urban agriculture as a recreational resource are explored. It also examines, quite fundamentally, why people farm in the city and how urban agriculture can contribute to more sustainable cities in both the Global North and the Global South.

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1 Defining and Theorizing Global Urban Agriculture

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1  Defining and Theorizing Global Urban

Agriculture

Antoinette M.G.A. WinklerPrins*

Johns Hopkins University, Washington, District of Columbia, USA

Urban agriculture (UA) is sprouting up in empty spaces of post-industrial landscapes throughout the industrialized world – in vacant lots, road medians, parks – reminiscent of the patchwork of vegetable gardens and livestock enclosures that are part of the urban streetscape in much of the Global South.

(McClintock, 2010, p. 191)

1.1  Introduction

Time has come to rethink and theorize urban agriculture (UA) at a global scale as its importance continues to rise in a world that is becoming ever more urban, and perhaps more importantly, a world in which the differences between the Global North (GN) and the Global South

(GS) regarding the practice and motivations for urban agriculture are lessening. The objective of this volume is to bring together research that focuses on productive cultivation in urban spaces from around the world and to place these empirics in a theoretical context to provide cohesion. The motivation for compiling this book and titling it as I have come from years of research on home gardens and urban agriculture in the Global South (e.g. WinklerPrins, 2002, 2006; Murrieta and WinklerPrins, 2003; WinklerPrins and de Souza, 2005,

 

2 A View from the South: Bringing Critical Planning Theory to Urban Agriculture

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2 

A View from the South: Bringing Critical

Planning Theory to Urban Agriculture

Stephanie A. White* and Michael W. Hamm

Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA

2.1  Introduction: Re-framing Urban

Agriculture

This chapter discusses the role that urban agriculture (UA) plays in urban food systems and how theoretical framings of UA that draw attention to it as an ‘urbanistic practice’, both constituting and constituted by urban assemblages, offer new directions for research. We argue that studies of urban agriculture can be ‘put to work’ to:

1. develop more accurate understandings of regional and city food provisioning and exchange, especially in relation to informality;

2. shed light on urban socio-ecological processes and relationships, including those that reproduce food insecurity, poverty and social marginalization;

3. provide case-study accounts of peripheral livelihoods that challenge ‘conventional understandings about how the city is put together’

 

3 North American Urban Agriculture: Barriers and Benefits

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3 

North American Urban Agriculture:

Barriers and Benefits

Leslie Gray,1* Lucy Diekmann1 and Susan Algert2

Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, California, USA; 2UC ANR Cooperative

Extension, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties,

California, USA (retired)

1

3.1  Introduction

Urban agricultural research in the Global North

(GN) and Global South (GS) has been fairly unconnected, despite overlapping themes of food security, social capital, nutrition, urban greening and access to land (Chapter 1, this volume).

One reason might be that much of urban agriculture in the GN has resulted from urban agricultural projects initiated to solve a host of social and economic ills, resulting in formalized movements and organized spaces for people to engage in urban agriculture (Bassett, 1981; Lawson,

2005).1 In contrast, gardens in the GS are commonly planted in informal public spaces or in homes by urban dwellers seeking household food security or opportunities for income generation (Zezza and Tasciotti, 2010). Despite these differences, urban agriculture in the GN and GS are similar in that they are frequently transitory in nature. In the GN, organized projects have typically waxed and waned with economic and social crises. Lawson (2005) contends that after each successive crisis passed, urban agricultural programmes have been difficult to sustain.

 

4 A Survey of Urban Community Gardeners in the USA

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4 

A Survey of Urban Community

Gardeners in the USA

Tammy E. Parece1* and James B. Campbell2

Colorado Mesa University, Grand Junction, Colorado, USA; 2Virginia Polytechnic

Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA

1

4.1  Introduction

Across the world, urban landscapes are a mix of living vegetation and the built environment, with the ratio of green space to human-made structures (e.g. roads, buildings) varying from neighbourhood to neighbourhood. Frequently, these physical variations are correlated with socio-economic factors (e.g. education, income, assets, etc.) because how and where development occurs is controlled by wealth (Wolch et al.,

2005; Ernstson, 2013; Anguelovski, 2015). As such, an uneven distribution of power exists and decision-making processes seldom include people with the greatest need for jobs, affordable housing, food and recreational facilities (FAO,

2007; Ernstson, 2013; Cohen and Reynolds,

 

5 Gardens in the City: Community, Politics and Place in San Diego, California

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5 

Gardens in the City: Community,

Politics and Place in San Diego, California

Fernando J. Bosco* and Pascale Joassart-Marcelli

San Diego State University, San Diego, California, USA

5.1  Introduction

In the Global North alternative food practices have become increasingly common as a response to growing dissatisfaction with the industrial and corporate food system. In particular, in the US, scholars and activists have called for a relocalization of food systems, including urban agriculture and community gardening, as a way to foster health, justice and sustainability. Scholars describe these food practices as forms of resistance against the capitalist pressures that strain the food system (Kloppenburg et al., 2000; Hendrickson and Heffernan, 2002;

Norberg-Hodge et al., 2002; Heynen, 2009).

Similarly, the sites where these activities take place, especially community gardens, have also been conceptualized as ‘spaces of resistance’ or

‘counter-spaces’, to the extent that they represent a collective spatial strategy to redistribute value away from the global corporate food system into disenfranchised communities (Schmelzkopf, 2002; Staeheli et al., 2002; Eizenberg,

 

6 ‘Growing food is work’: The Labour Challenges of Urban Agriculture in Houston, Texas

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6 

‘Growing food is work’: The Labour

Challenges of Urban Agriculture in

Houston, Texas

Sasha Broadstone1 and Christian Brannstrom2*

Stokes Nature Center, Logan, Utah, USA; 2Texas A&M University,

College Station, Texas, USA

1

6.1  Introduction

6.2  Background

Urban agriculture (UA) contributes to improved food access, eating habits and community interaction. Although UA offers modest contribution to food supply in cities, many scholars report the importance of UA in improving food sovereignty and producing alternative food systems. Details on the management, production and distribution strategies of UA in the

Global North (GN) are poorly documented, but relatively better knowledge exists in the Global

South (GS) on these topics. Knowledge and understanding of these aspects of UA are important for practitioners and policy makers in the GN and GS. Here we ask: how, and under what conditions, do UA sites in the GN produce food? We answer this question through an agricultural systems approach applied to UA organizers in Houston, Texas, regarding management strategies and food production practices. UA site objective and site-access regimes were closely related and influential in determining decision-making strategies, division of labour, and destination of the harvest. As our title suggests, labour was a major concern among respondents.

 

7 The Marketing of Vegetables in a Northern Ghanaian City: Implications and Trajectories

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7 

The Marketing of Vegetables in a

Northern Ghanaian City: Implications and Trajectories

Imogen Bellwood-Howard* and Eileen Bogweh Nchanji

Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Göttingen University,

Göttingen, Germany

7.1 

Introduction

The proximity of urban production sites to markets is one factor that has let urban agriculture

(UA) flourish in both the Global North (GN) and the Global South (GS) (Drechsel and Dongus,

2010; Danso et al., 2014). Studying markets for urban produce provides an opportunity to consider consumption alongside production and income generation, and economic alongside social and ecological concerns (Chagomoka et  al.,

2014; Yusuf et al., 2014). This theme thus acts as a lens through which to consider the multifunctionality of UA (Atukunda and Maxwell,

1996; Mougeot, 2000).

In this chapter, we argue that the market function of UA, alongside specific characteristics of the urban zone, allows urban farmers and marketers to reconnect the ecological to the social and economic within their livelihood strategies. Referring to urban political ecology and livelihoods frameworks, we show this happening to varying extents across the GN and GS, due to different extents of politicization and connection between producers and consumers. We draw on primary data about vegetable marketing in Tamale, northern Ghana, and compare this with case studies from the Global North. The chapter concludes by considering the implications of these similarities and differences for the future

 

8 Hunger for Justice: Building Sustainable and Equitable Communities in Massachusetts

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8 

Hunger for Justice: Building

Sustainable and Equitable Communities in Massachusetts

Timothy F. LeDoux* and Brian W. Conz

Westfield State University, Westfield, Massachusetts, USA

8.1  Introduction

Over the past few decades, the role of urban agriculture in ameliorating social and environmental inequities in the global agri-food system has received growing attention from academics, food activists, practitioners, local government officials, non-governmental organizations and planners. Urban agriculture has been celebrated for its abilities to alleviate food insecurity, hunger and malnutrition, improve food accessibility and sovereignty, strengthen communities and promote economic development, and fashion greener, healthier and more resilient cities. More importantly, it has been seen as an important step in recombining food production and consumption with social relationships that have been eroded by the global agri-food system. Ironically, despite its global reach, research on urban agriculture often has been partitioned into initiatives occurring in the Global South and practices arising in the Global North.

 

9 Sustainability’s Incomplete Circles: Towards a Just Food Politics in Austin, Texas and Havana, Cuba

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9 

Sustainability’s Incomplete Circles:

Towards a Just Food Politics in Austin,

Texas and Havana, Cuba

Jonathan T. Lowell1* and Sara Law2

University of Texas, Austin, Texas, USA; 2Sustainable Food Center,

Austin, Texas, USA

1

9.1  Introduction

The purpose of this chapter is both to question the use of sustainability discourses in urban agriculture projects and to analyse how the discourse traverses over spaces and the bodies who occupy those spaces. As Alkon and Agyeman put it ‘food is not only linked to ecological sustainability, community, and health but also to racial, economic, and environmental justice’ (Alkon and

Agyeman, 2011, p. 4). However, in theory and in praxis, ‘sustainability’ is largely talked about in terms of food production, to the detriment of food consumption (i.e. food security). More specifically, how, where and by whom the food is produced is privileged over who and to what extent food is accessible to everybody.

 

10 A Political Ecology of Community Gardens in Australia: From Local Issues to Global Lessons

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10 

A Political Ecology of Community

Gardens in Australia: From Local Issues to Global Lessons

Jason A. Byrne,1* Catherine M. Pickering,1

Daniela A. Guitart2 and Rebecca Sims-Castley3

1

Environmental Futures Research Institute, Gold Coast,

Queensland, Australia; 2Griffith School of Environment,

Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia; 3Independent scholar

10.1  Introduction

The local impacts of global urbanization (e.g. dwindling green spaces, food insecurity, land shortages, loss of biodiversity) have triggered resurgent interest in various forms of urban agriculture (Godfray et al., 2010; Evers and Hodgson,

2011). In many rapidly growing cities across the

Global North (GN) and Global South (GS), residents are clamouring for better access to places to grow safe and healthy food, for spaces that foster social inclusion, and improved environmental quality (Guitart et al., 2015). Urban cultivation initiatives are often framed around the social benefits of local food growing and typically seek to be ‘sustainable’ (Chapters 8 and 9, this volume). These twin goals have important implications for land-use planning and policy, implications that we address in this chapter.

 

11 Urban Agriculture as Adaptive Capacity: An Example from Senegal

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11  Urban Agriculture as Adaptive

Capacity: An Example from Senegal

Stephanie A. White*

Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA

11.1  Introduction

This chapter discusses how resilience theory can help to better qualify and situate urban agriculture (UA) in relation to city food systems and urban food security. Specifically, it demonstrates how UA can be regarded as a food practice that builds urban adaptive capacity in a number of ways and across a range of scales. It then uses these conceptual frames to examine urban agriculture in M’Bour, Senegal, drawing attention to:

1. how city processes and space, or urban assemblages, are implicated in producing various food vulnerabilities and resiliencies;

2 . how food practices are leveraged to survive and thrive in dynamic and variable urban environments.

Although the research specifically addresses the food environment in M’Bour, Senegal, the conceptual framing is generalizable, and is intended to reveal the diversity of food environments and the contingent ways people experience them.

 

12 Intersection and Material Flow in Open-space Urban Farms in Tanzania

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12 

Intersection and Material Flow in

Open-space Urban Farms in Tanzania

Leslie McLees*

University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, USA

12.1  Introduction

Researchers estimate that 40% of the urban population in sub-Saharan Africa relies on food cultivation in cities (Foeken, 2006). Translating that figure to Dar es Salaam, a city of an estimated population of 4 million (UN-Habitat,

2010), approximately 1.6 million people are involved in some manner of urban food production. Understanding how these spaces exist and persist, however, requires understanding them more than just as sites of food production.

People, materials, money and even the sites of the farms themselves flow and intersect through time and space to create specific places and processes. This chapter examines how utilizing movement, flow and intersection as heuristic devices (Simone, 2005, p. 13) on the open-space farms of Dar es Salaam bridges the analytical gap between urban agriculture in the Global

 

13 Relying on Urban Gardens for Survival within the Building of a Modern City in Colombia

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13 

Relying on Urban Gardens for

Survival within the Building of a Modern

City in Colombia

Colleen Hammelman*

University of Toronto-Scarborough, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

13.1  Introduction

Interest in urban agriculture (UA), at various scales, has been growing around the world

(Mougeot, 2005; Colasanti et al., 2012; Hampwaye,

2013). This interest includes a focus on the motivations and benefits of UA in relation to urban planning. This chapter adds to the discussion through investigating how displaced women in

Medellín, Colombia, utilize urban gardens as a survival strategy in the face of tenuous support from local government. It contributes to literature on UA by providing a clear example of the ways in which urban planning (that is influenced by global political economic systems) impacts on a critical survival strategy: growing food. Significant research on UA has been conducted to date (Guitart et al., 2012) that includes considerations of insecure land tenure (e.g. DeKay, 1997; Irvine et  al., 1999; Schmelzkopf, 2002; Bryld, 2003).

 

14 Regreening Kibera: How Urban Agriculture Changed the Physical and Social Environment of a Large Slum in Kenya

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14 

Regreening Kibera:

How Urban Agriculture Changed the Physical and Social Environment of a Large Slum in Kenya

Courtney M. Gallaher*

Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, USA

14.1  Introduction

Our world is becoming a ‘Planet of Slums’ (term coined by Davis, 2006) as a result of rapid population growth and unplanned urbanization. Globally, more than a billion people now live in slums. In sub-Saharan Africa, slums are growing faster than its cities, with the majority of population growth occurring in densely packed, informal settlements that are associated with a host of social, economic and environmental problems (Davis, 2006). The inhabitants of these slums must contend on a daily basis with a range of significant environmental justice issues, including inadequate housing, sanitation services and access to water, and exposure to a range of pollutants. Additionally, due to the density of the slums, residents have little exposure to nature (e.g. trees, patches of grass, wild birds or animals) in the way that residents of other areas of these cities do. Particularly for residents who have migrated to the city from rural areas, this represents a significant rift from the ways they are accustomed to interacting with their environments.

 

15 Farm Fresh in the City: Urban Grassroots Food Distribution Networks in Finland

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15 

Farm Fresh in the City:

Urban Grassroots Food Distribution

Networks in Finland

Sophia E. Hagolani-Albov1* and Sarah J. Halvorson2

University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland; 2University of Montana,

Missoula, Montana, USA

1

It was March, there were a few inches of snow on the ground, and the air was bitingly cold.

I was invited by the founder of the REKO Circles

[food distribution networks] to accompany him to the weekly pick up scheduled to take place in the midafternoon, which at that latitude was right before nightfall. We arrived shortly after the start of the event at a parking lot that was in a forgotten corner of Pietarsaari, Finland. Cars were parked every few spaces and there was a group of people clustered around each car. The temperature hovered around freezing and products were exchanged quickly and efficiently through open trunks or out of backseats. As I watched the scene unfold in front of me, I was amazed to realize that 30 minutes ago this had been an empty parking lot and in another 30 minutes all the producers and consumers would be gone. The parking lot would be cold and silent again; the only hint of this ‘instant’ market would be the trampled snow.

 

16 The Appropriation of Space through ‘Communist Swarms’: A Socio-spatial Examination of Urban Apiculture in Washington, DC

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16 

The Appropriation of Space through

‘Communist Swarms’: A Socio-spatial

Examination of Urban Apiculture in

Washington, DC

Lauren Dryburgh*

American University, Washington, DC, USA

When I started researching . . . urban

­beekeeping, to be honest, I was a bit intimidated.

Urban apiaries remain the domain of the hardcore – the tattooed hipsters in Bushwick or other outer-borough neighborhoods

[in New York City] and their communist swarms.

(Levin, 2010, p. 1)

16.1  Introduction

About a month after Eliza De La Portilla and her family moved into their urban South Florida home, their neighbours came over to thank them. De La Portilla and her family had brought something into the community that was then unusual – h

­ oneybees. The long-time residents in the house next door were overjoyed to find that there were again bees in a space where buzzing had not been heard for quite some time

(De La Portilla, 2013). The family of urban apiculturists was not surprised to hear that their bees were fi

 

17 Urban Agriculture and the Reassembly of the City: Lessons from Wuhan, China

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17 

Urban Agriculture and the Reassembly of the City: Lessons from Wuhan, China

Sarah S. Horowitz* and Juanjuan Liu

Guizhou Normal University, Guiyang, Guizhou Province, China

17.1  Introduction

In 1990, one-quarter of mainland China’s population lived in urban areas. By the end of

2015, that figure jumped to 770 million people – accounting for more than half the country, and

10% of the world’s population (National Bureau of Statistics of China, 2016). The unprecedented scale and speed of China’s urbanization raises critical questions about the nation’s food supply. On the one hand, China has remarkably high food self-­sufficiency standards, and protective measures to prevent the over-conversion of agricultural land into development land. On the other hand, environmental degradation, the rise of the middle class, an increasingly landintensive diet, and growing dependency on global trade threaten China’s food security agenda.

This poses a threat not only to domestic social, ecological and political stability, but also to global ­systems.

 

18 The Contribution of Smallholder Irrigated Urban Agriculture Towards Household Food Security in Harare, Zimbabwe

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18 

The Contribution of Smallholder

Irrigated Urban Agriculture Towards

Household Food Security in Harare,

Zimbabwe

Never Mujere

University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe

18.1  Introduction

Agriculture is no longer seen as just a rural

­activity but is now embraced as part of a livelihood and an important income-earning strategy in most cities. It has become an important economic and social activity, contributing to the aesthetic value of the city and socio-economic uplift of urban households. Most urban dwellers engage in urban agriculture (UA) as a survival strategy due to challenges of absolute and relative growth in urban poverty and food insecurity

(Gallaher et al., 2013; Korir et al., 2015; Chapters 7 and 12, this volume). A significant proportion of low-income urban households face serious difficulties in accessing adequate basic foodstuffs, which are sold at prices beyond what consumers can afford. High food prices have drastically reduced people’s purchasing power and raised the spectre of food and income disequilibrium at the household level. The urban food crisis is further worsened by a massive population shift from rural to urban areas. As a result, some urban authorities have reserved patches of land for urban agriculture in their municipalities (Olufemi and

 

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