The urban farming revolution



Conservatives have long been strong advocates for farming and agriculture. With increases in urbanization, and with the number of farms continually decreasing, its clear it is time for not only conservatives but also everyone in Minnesota to get behind urban farming initiatives. Urban farming can aide in producing fresh food within the metropolis, can strengthen the local economy, and can create community among urban farmers and consumers.

According to a study done by the University of California-Davis, urban farming provides food security, enhances health literacy, increases citizen well being, and allows for easy access to healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. In addition, it mentions numerous economic benefits as well, including increases in nearby home values, savings on food, market expansion for farmers, and savings for municipal agencies. Urban Farming creates a win-win situation for both the farmers and consumers.

Stones Throw Urban Farm is an example of a thriving urban farm in Minneapolis. According to its website, Stones Throw Urban Farm has converted 14 different unused urban spaces into urban farms, with the intent of promoting ecological and economic sustainability, while also strengthening communities.

I encourage Minnesota Conservatives in the state legislature and in city government to get behind current pro-urban farming legislation, as it is clearly beneficial to urban areas. For example, Minnesota House File 153 is a bi-partisan bill seeking to add urban agriculture development zones to land use planning. This bill and others like both Republicans and Democrats should support it in the legislature because economic growth and market diversification is something both sides agree is a good thing.

This urban agriculture and farming movement is not just making waves in Minnesota, but is becoming the norm throughout the country. Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles are just a few of the many large cities with thriving urban farms, community supported agriculture programs, and farms dedicated to feeding the impoverished and providing at-risk individuals with employment. According to MIT, 20% of undernourished individuals live in urban areas, and making urban agriculture widespread could help to greatly decrease this terrifying statistic.

With an abundance of unused land in the Twin Cities metro area, its time that state legislators and city officials invest in this innovative way of food production. According to MIT a small community garden of 9 raised garden beds and 10 round planters can produce roughly 250 pounds of food a year. If legislators and city officials were to fully embrace urban agriculture the Twin Cities would see lower produce prices, fresher food, and a stronger economy. The revolution in farming has begun, and its time conservatives and liberals get behind it.