Urban Agriculture is defined by the USDA as the cultivation, processing and distribution of agricultural products in urban and suburban settings, including things like vertical production, warehouse farms, community gardens, rooftop farms, hydroponic, aeroponic, and aquaponic facilities, and other innovations. It is a common belief that urban agriculture will play a crucial role in future food production and a more sustainable future.
Food deserts are areas that have limited access to affordable and nutritious food. They can be found all over the United States, and in Massachusetts. Food deserts are often communities with a high proportion of low-income families, inadequate transportation, and a limited number of food retailers. These areas are often associated with increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and other weight related diseases. Encouraging and supporting urban agriculture in different forms increases food availability to these communities, while also giving members the opportunity to participate in the production of their own food, reduce carbon footprints. Urban ag can even have cultural benefits, such as increasing the availability of culturally important food that may not be commonly found at food retailers and preserving other cultural traditions that are linked to food.
In 2022, the Plymouth County Conservation District received a grant from the National Association of Conservation Districts to assess urban agriculture within Plymouth County. The goal of this assessment is to identify the common needs and challenges often associated with urban agriculture. A better understanding of the urban ag community will allow the conservation district to properly serve the community and plan future beneficial programs to support and encourage urban farmers and related organizations.
Urban Agriculture Assessment
Plymouth County Conservation District has developed two surveys; one geared towards producers and another for organizations that have ties to urban agriculture. These surveys will serve as initial introductions to the producer and organization so that the district can begin compiling information regarding urban agriculture and gain a more general understanding of the issues specific to the area. Respondents are given the option to volunteer for an in-person or virtual interview to further the conversation regarding their operation and their challenges.
If you're involved in urban agriculture in Plymouth County and would like to participate in our survey, links can found below. If you have any further comments regarding urban agriculture in Plymouth County that you believe would be valuable to this assessment- please contact us at PlymouthCCD.Office@gmail.com
We appreciate every response!