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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.

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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.

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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.

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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’

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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.

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