Maximizing Urban Agriculture to Increase Community Health and Wellness
Over the last decade, an increasing number of community-based organizations have pursued urban agriculture strategies, which include cultivating, processing, and distributing food in or around urban areas. Thoughtfully designed urban agriculture approaches have been shown to have a variety of positive social, health, and economic impacts such as increased access to and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, decreases in food insecurity, and increases in food and health literacy. In addition to addressing basic nutritional needs, urban agriculture can contribute to communities’ overall physical health and well-being, while serving as a tool for education, community development and engagement, employment, exercise, conservation, socialization between generations, and cultural enrichment.
Since 2007, Aramark and the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities have partnered to help communities thrive by bringing resources to the local level and cultivating strong relationships. Aramark and the Alliance have partnered closely with several community-based organizations leading urban agricultural efforts to help develop, maintain, and learn from the process.
Through this process, Pillsbury United Communities (Pillsbury) in Minneapolis and BakerRipley in Houston have identified several important aspects organizations must consider before starting an urban farm, critical components of successful urban agricultural approaches, and strategies to leverage to maximize the potential of a farm. Their insight has been compiled in this toolkit to help other community-based organizations implement these approaches.