Urban farming or urban agriculture is a growing industry getting increasingly popular. People have been using this phrase quite a bit recently, so let’s dive into the details.
Urban farming is defined as growing or producing food in a heavily populated town or municipality. This is not necessarily the same as community gardening or subsistence farming.
There is no one correct way to urban farm. It could be an individual, some friends, or an organization that starts and runs the farm. Food can be sold, but usually it goes straight from the farm to the user.
Urban agriculture is a way to access locally grown food and to reincorporate food culture into the busy metropolitan lives of dense cities. Gardens can be grown on rooftops, landfills, brownfields, or areas where housing or industry may have been demolished. Innovative water systems such as aquaponics allow the gardens to thrive in nontraditional farm locations. For sustainable sourcing, you can can also repurpose organic wastes into nutrient-rich soils, which are often collected separately in city department of sanitation programs. Some cities have programs in their park systems to allow urban farmers to plant seeds.
Greenthumb is a project of NYC Parks and is the largest gardening program in the nation. They provide material support to over 500 community gardens in New York City and they’ve also contributed to Farm School NYC and our mission.
Policies can differ for each city, so be careful to look into commerce and zoning issues if you are interested in starting an urban farm. There are many existing Urban Farms in NYC for those looking to volunteer or join, and many resources are online for those interested. If you are in NYC, check the official website to learn more about NYC urban agriculture: