The trend in civic agriculture towards locally based agriculture and food production that is tightly linked to a community’s social and economic development represents a sustainable alternative to the potentially destructive practices of conventional, large-scale agriculture.
There are many social benefits that have emerged from urban agricultural practices, such as improved overall social and emotional well-being, improved health and nutrition, increased income, employment, food security within the household, and community social life.
Areas faced with food security issues have limited choices, often relying on highly processed fast food or convenience store foods that are high in calories and low in nutrients, which may lead to elevated rates of diet-related illnesses such as diabetes. Urban agriculture can address hunger at the individual, family, and community levels. The ability to produce and grow food creates food security and increases financial security by allowing families to generate larger incomes selling to local consumers while supplying their own households with fresh and nutritional produce.
Sustainable Community Development
Gardens often organize individuals for action. Community gardens and urban farms often serve as a focal point for community dialogue, capacity building, and partnerships through a shared community garden space.
Many urban gardens facilitate the improvement of social networks within the communities that they are located. For many neighborhoods, gardens provide a “symbolic focus,” which leads to improved social relationships, increased community pride, and overall community improvement and mobilization. This improvement in overall community health can also be connected to decreased levels of crime and suicide rates. Community gardens and urban farms also increase environmental aesthetics, promote neighborhood attachment and social involvement.
Urban farms and gardens are a proven effective educational tool to teach kids about healthy eating and meaningful physical activity. They are an appropriate arena to introduce children to the interconnections that link nature to economic systems and society,
Nutrition and Health
Urban agriculture is associated with increased consumption of fruits and vegetables which decreases risk for disease and can be a cost-effective way to provide citizens with quality, fresh produce in urban settings. Everything that is involved in starting and maintaining a garden, from turning the soil to digging holes, contributes to an individual’s physical activity.