Integrating Urban Farms into the Social Landscape of Cities

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Integrating Urban Farms into the Social Landscape of Cities Recommendations for Strengthening the Relationship Between Urban Farms and Local Communities

Integrating Urban Farms into the Social Landscape of Cities Recommendations for Strengthening the Relationship between Urban Farms and Local Communities

Melissa N. Poulsen, MPH & Marie L. Spiker, MSPH, RD Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health With illustrations by Alex Winch

July 2014

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: First and foremost, we are indebted to the many study participants who made this research possible by generously sharing their time and thoughts with us. We would also like to thank Dr. Peter Winch for his guidance, support, and commitment to multidisciplinary research, and Nestor Mojica for his invaluable contributions to the study as a researcher. In addition, many thanks go to Dr. Larissa Jennings, Dr. Roni Neff, and Dr. Kate C. Smith for their intellectual support of this research. This research was made possible by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future-Lerner Fellowship and a fellowship from the Johns Hopkins Environment, Energy, Sustainability, and Health Institute.

Table of Contents EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

I

DEFINITION OF TERMS

III

INTRODUCTION STUDY OBJECTIVE

1 2

CHAPTER 1. BACKGROUND BENEFITS OF URBAN AGRICULTURE DEFINITION OF URBAN FARMING URBAN FARMING IN BALTIMORE CITY

3 3 3 3

CHAPTER 2: STUDY METHODS STUDY LIMITATIONS

4 7

CHAPTER 3. POSITIONING URBAN FARMS: NOT JUST A FARM IN THE CITY THE ROLE OF THE URBAN FARMER SERVICES URBAN FARMS PROVIDE TO NEIGHBORHOODS THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNITY BUY-IN FOR URBAN FARMS

8 8 10 14

CHAPTER 4. BARRIERS TO GAINING COMMUNITY BUY-IN FOR URBAN FARMING LACK OF FAMILIARITY WITH URBAN FARMING FARM AESTHETICS PESTS VANDALISM SAFETY AND PURITY OF FARM FOOD REPLACEMENT OF POTENTIAL DEVELOPMENT DISTRUST OF “OUTSIDER” PROJECTS SUSTAINABILITY OF URBAN FARMS

17 17 17 19 19 20 20 20 22

CHAPTER 5. STRATEGIES FOR GAINING COMMUNITY BUY-IN FOR URBAN FARMING PHASE 1: GAINING ENTRY INTO A NEIGHBORHOOD PHASE 2: INTRODUCING THE IDEA FOR AN URBAN FARM PHASE 3: ENGAGING THE NEIGHBORHOOD

24 24 27 30

CHAPTER 6: PUTTING THE COMMUNITY BUY-IN PROCESS INTO ACTION DO ALL URBAN FARMS NEED COMMUNITY BUY-IN? A TIMELINE FOR GAINING COMMUNITY BUY-IN RECOMMENDATIONS

35 35 35 36

REFERENCES

42

Executive Summary In cities across the U.S., urban farming is gaining traction as a way of productively using degraded vacant land while increasing access to fresh produce within cities. As urban farming continues to be promoted by municipal governments and others, it is important to understand how to ensure these projects are viable. One consideration for urban farms located in populated areas of a city is the reaction of residents who live in neighborhoods surrounding farms. Urban farms differ from urban gardens in their emphasis on income-generating agricultural activity. As such, they can challenge traditional images residents might have for how land is used in city neighborhoods. Urban farming projects are most likely to survive and thrive if they have local support, but how can these projects gain community buy-in? Through interviews with urban farmers, neighborhood leaders, community residents, and other key stakeholders in Baltimore City, we sought to understand the processes that are most effective for gaining the acceptance of city residents for urban farming. Findings from our research demonstrate that urban farms are not simply farms located in the city. Key distinctions between urban farms and their rural counterparts include the unconventional roles of an urban farmer and the range of services – both tangible and intangible – that urban farms can provide to surrounding neighborhoods. It is the perceived benefits of these services