Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Educational Briefing: Bringing Urban Agriculture to Life Sponsored by the SSSA

The American Society for Nutrition (ASN), Soil Science Society of America (SSSA), and the Council on Food, Agricultural & Resource Economics (C-FARE) sponsored Bringing Urban Agriculture to Life, on Monday, May 9. The briefing highlighted the role of urban agriculture and community gardening in addressing urban food security and human health issues. The panel of experts included:
  • Dr. Katherine Alaimo: Associate Professor, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
  • Dr. Jim Hanson: Extension Economist/Farm Management Specialist, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
  • Kristen McIvor: Community Garden Coordinator, Tacoma/Pierce County, Cascade Land Conservancy, Seattle, WA (SSSA Member)

The Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 250 million hungry individuals live in cities. These residents often rely on food sources that originate far beyond the city limits. However, urban agriculture programs, which cultivate, process, and distribute food in or around metropolitan areas, are now cropping-up across the United States. Urban agriculture increases the access that residents have to fresh fruits and vegetables, providing better nutritional options for city-dwellers and influencing food security.

While there are numerous advantages associated with urban agriculture, for there to be economic or nutritional benefits, program management must result in sufficient crop yield and empower urban farmers. By integrating materials and resources available to improve soil fertility and tilth into urban agricultural programs, assisting with land tenure issues, and increasing access to micro-lending, municipalities can positively impact the health and well-being of their residents. For more information on the urban agriculture briefing, please visit:

The one page summary handed out at the briefing.

Jim Hanson, Katherine Alaimo, and Kristen McIvor
outside the Capitol.

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