Planning and Zoning to Grow Urban Agriculture

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Learning Outcomes

  • Identify the benefits of and barriers to urban agriculture.
  • Improve planning and zoning to support urban agriculture.
  • Recognize how urban agriculture is interconnected with equity and sustainability.

More Course Details

Urban agriculture strengthens food systems, cultivates climate resiliency, grows local economies, and fosters social capital. However, it is often overlooked in long-range planning, and zoning policy rarely accommodates the needs of urban farmers. Subsequently, they face myriad problems, from accessing affordable land and clean water to legally growing and selling their products.

Through research, engagement, and advocacy, national and local planners are supporting urban agriculture with planning and zoning. Presenters share case studies from Boston; Franklin County, Ohio; and the bistate Kansas City region that illustrate the benefits of and barriers to urban agriculture, reveal best practices and resources, and outline supportive zoning policies.

Urban agriculture, like any form of green development, can displace long-time residents rather than strengthen self-determined communities. Presenters address issues of social and racial equity and offer strategies for urban planners to support food sovereignty.

Urban agriculture affects urban, suburban, and peri-urban communities and connects to equity. Both land theft from BIPOC farmers and prevalent urban vacant lots are legacies of structural racism. Urban agriculture, like any form of development, can support self-determined communities or perpetuate gentrification and displacement.