Urban Agriculture – more than food and farming.
I’m going to be honest with you, as always. This paper is lengthy but filled with love. It’s here to spread knowledge about urban agriculture and start a discussion. When embarking on this journey to learn more about urban agriculture, I wasn’t sure what to expect other than I was going to have to get my hands dirty. The photo above is a before shot of my yard. As you’ll soon learn, the inspiration started well before the beginning of the term, but more on that later. This is about the final product. I am not an expert by any means in this field, but I attempted to learn and shed light on all aspects of urban agriculture, go to the section you find most interesting and venture from there.
Food has been a part of human life and culture since humans were considered human. Food brings people together, drives people apart, starts wars, ends wars, creates culture and destroys it. Without food, communities cannot develop, sustain and strengthen; however, with food communities can thrive, create culture and leave a legacy. For someone to argue that food doesn’t play a role in culture would be foolish. Humans have harnessed the power of agriculture for several millennia (emphasis on the argi-‘culture’). Agriculture is a fundamental component of culture, it has sustained humans allowing them to develop and create other forms of culture, it has entertained humans by providing taverns, restaurants, cathedrals, stadiums and other historical venues the resources to create culture around food and beverages. Thus, begs the questions, how often does a culture not intermingled with food, and what impact does food have on human culture?
This paper will address the importance of food in culture by analyzing the impact urban agriculture has on city and community culture in North America while exploring the role cultural policies play in enabling this unique cultural movement. The paper will discuss the findings from five urban agriculture books and emphasize the breadth of benefits this activity provides culture. Afterwards, the paper will present an interview conducted by the author with Coleen MacDonald from the Edible Garden Project, an urban agriculture initiative in North Vancouver. Through this interview, the operations, funding, challenges, and goals of this specific urban agriculture project will be discussed. Overall, this paper will attempt to inform the layman of the role cultural policies play in urban agriculture and address the impact urban agriculture currently has on culture. The paper will also address the continual cultural impact urban agriculture could sustain in communities and cities across the globe if policymakers acknowledge the benefits as food security and environmental concerns continue to rise.
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