Updated: Mar 18
Urban agriculture can take on many forms. Community gardens, urban homesteads, urban farms, urban food forests, beekeeping, raising backyard chickens, and flower gardening are all types of urban agriculture.
Similarly, urban agriculture offers a number of solutions for different problems. By using more compost, urban farms reduce waste going to landfills. With opportunities for hands-on education, gardens can help teach math and science to children. In a safe space surrounded by nature, families can gather and socialize with their neighbors.
Urban farms also create job opportunities, either for people who want to grow food in cities or become full time farmers on several acres outside the city. It also offers a way to reconnect with the land for some many people who have been removed or traumatized from the land here in America.
Here are some of our favorite people and organizations who practice and advocate for urban agriculture:
1. Leah Penniman & Soul Fire Farm
Leah Penniman is an author, activist, and farmer who connects racism to health and wealth inequality in her book Farming While Black. Penniman offers a comprehensive, concise “how-to” for all aspects of sustainable small-scale farming for people of African descent through her literature and nonprofit, the Soul Fire Farm in New York.
2. Rashid Nuri
A co-founder of Truly Living Well Center for Urban Agriculture in Atlanta, Nuri has traveled the world and worked at the highest levels of government in support of urban agriculture. His book, Growing Out Loud: Journey of a Food Revolutionary tells the story of his journey with an eye to the future of urban farming. Truly Living Well recently celebrated the purchase of their urban farm land.
3. HABESHA, Inc
A global Pan-African organization that cultivates leadership in youth and families through practical experiences in cultural education, sustainable agriculture, entrepreneurship, holistic health, and technology. With operations in Ghana and Atlanta, they are building farms and sustainable communities across the world.
A part of The Come Up Project, G2G is a social enterprise focused on building worker-owned cooperatives that provide opportunities for employment, empowerment, and entrepreneurship in agriculture for at-risk youth and formerly incarcerated individuals. Buy their hot sauce to support the program at WeBuyBlack.com
5. Ron Finley
Known as the Gangsta Gardener, the story of his arrest for planting vegetables in his front yard in Los Angeles went viral through his TED Talk and subsequent documentary, Can You Dig This? He frequently speaks at conferences and events and is always showing off his garden on Instagram.
You may have heard their viral hit, “Grow Food,” but Appetite for Change is also a dedicated team of educators, growers, guides, and leaders who believe food is the key ingredient to nourishing wellbeing. Based in North Minneapolis AFC builds community capacity to engage with the food system in a fresh and sustainable way. They also received a grant from Colin Kapernick in 2017.
Black Urban Growers (BUGS) is an organization committed to building networks and community support for farmers in both urban and rural settings. Through education and advocacy around food and farm issues, BUGS nurtures collective Black leadership.
8. Mario Cambardella
A trainer landscape designer, Mario became the first Urban Agriculture Director in the country when he was hired by the Mayor’s Office of Atlanta. During his tenure, Mario and his team made city property available to urban farmers and gardeners, created the AgLanta Conference and hyper local food festival AgLanta Eats, and built the largest urban food forest in America. He now runs Servescape, which makes it easy to get plants delivered to your door.
A relatively new nonprofit in metro Atlanta, Food Well Alliance has invested millions of dollars into urban agriculture through a grant program, compost, and labor for urban farms and community gardens They recently received a major USDA grant focused on a City Agriculture Plan in East Point, Ga.