NYC’s urban farm network: Unite!

Adriana Fernandes-Halloran gets us thinking about our place in New York’s burgeoning urban agriculture network.  

Urban agriculture can present itself in a variety of forms and shapes. No two growing spaces are the same, as they emerge in response to  specific needs and context. As Wendell Berry points out, urban agriculture is about more than just growing food. In fact, its role as a catalyst to foster and bring together a generation of urban agrarians may be even more significant than its implicit purpose.

New York City’s farmers and gardeners benefit the health, social lives, environment, and economy of their fellow citizens, and these positive outcomes align with the goals of government agencies more often then not. As open green spaces in a city of concrete, urban gardens can play a meaningful role in the social fabric of a community. The city needs to think more creatively about how to incorporate urban gardens as a secure, lasting and integral part of the city’s landscape.

As we collectively build the NYU Farm Lab, we also need to dream big and think creatively about how our farm can contribute not just to the betterment of our own skills and knowledge in farming, but also as a tool to foster our local food  system. The Five Borough Farm project highlights sixteen different activities, divided into four broad categories, that most often take place at the city’s farms and gardens:

Image courtesy of Five Borough Farm
Image courtesy of Five Borough Farm

What do you think our role within the larger local food system in New York City should be? What seems to be our comparative advantage and how do you think we can contribute to a larger movement, beyond the boundaries of our farming plot? Let us know in the comments.

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