Benjamin Laufer, a junior at The Taft School in Watertown, CT, is interested in sustainable agriculture and environmental justice, and he wrote the following paper for the Wharton Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (IGEL) blog. The following blog post is the abstract of his paper. The entire paper is available by clicking here. Benjamin plans on pursuing these areas of interest in college.
Urban agriculture and urban farming, historically often referred to as “community gardens,” have reemerged in recent years due to growing interest in environmental sustainability and local self-reliance. Proponents of the concept have vouched for urban farming’s ability to repurpose land in an effort to spur economic development, provide educational opportunities, reduce current environmental impacts, and strengthen public health. However, few studies have been conducted that create metrics to thoroughly evaluate the impacts of urban agriculture in different sectors. As a result, a lack of data and conclusions have followed, creating a growing landscape of farms without many necessary tools and appropriate information to yield consistent and effective results. Due to the local characteristics of urban farms, there has been little uniformity between organizations’ efforts, leading cities even within states to have differing models and reasons for implementation. The foundation of this report will be constructed from an analysis of US urban agriculture trends and impacts. This report aims to look at case studies from three of Connecticut’s most populated, culturally diverse, and food insecure cities (New Haven, Hartford, and Bridgeport) – the role of urban agriculture in each – and the impacts and setbacks they’ve experienced. In the concluding remarks, propositions of how to best create effective, innovative, and adaptable solutions will be discussed accompanied by the necessary research.
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