Thursday, March 10, 2016

What motivates Urban Farmers?

What motivates Urban Farmers? Can they feed their family, their community? These are all questions a recent study sought to answer. 

A study led by NYU Steinhardt and published in the British Food Journal shows that three of the four top reasons farmers grow in urban areas – food security, education, community building, and producing food for the market – have social motivations. The researchers analyzed data collected from a national survey of 370 urban farmers and identified and analyzed their social missions, as well as exploring differences and similarities among farms with varying missions. The researchers found that while food production is an essential part of the mission for all urban farms, approximately two-thirds of farmers surveyed also expressed a social mission. Study authors included Carolyn Dimitri or NYU Steinhardt, Lydia Oberholtzer of Penn State University, and Andy Pressman of the National Center for Appropriate Technology.

In addition, the survey found that farms with explicit social missions, relative to those with a strict market orientation, donate a higher share of food from their farm and are less likely to own farmland. Urban farms located in lower income areas are more likely to have social goals related to building community or improving security food security.

Read the results of the study here!

Nebraska is home to a growing Urban Agriculture movement.  Places like Omaha Home for Boys, Community CROPS, NSAS, Boys Town, City Sprouts, Big Garden and more are helping lead the charge.  As land, food and resources become even more scarce, it is increasingly important for people to learn to grow in whatever environment they are living in.  Who can urban farming feed?  They can feed people in these urban environments. They can feed their families. They can feed an idea of growing your own food.

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