A newly case study, From Farm to Every Fork: Rewriting the Narrative on Urban Agriculture in Sacramento by Heather Gehlert, depicts the recent historical process and development of urban agriculture in Sacramento. The study reveals that many community leaders and advocates supported urban agriculture as a tool to bring social change because they believe food, as a universal need, can be used to drive communities together. They also believe Urban Ag can help alleviate some of the problems of victims of food deserts and that since Sacramento is a considerable center for food research and policy as well as an environment for food to be grown year-round. However, those same advocates were also quick to stress that “urban agriculture is much more than a feel-good trend; it is a matter of health and social justice.”
The California Endowment, in recognition and response to healthy food advocates and their efforts in Sacramento’s southern neighborhoods, such as Lemon Hill and Oak Park, picked up urban agriculture “in 2010 as a part of its Building Healthy Communities initiative, a 10-year strategic plan to boost health in 14 of the state’s communities that not only have poor health outcomes but also have the potential to change them in ways that create a ripple effect throughout the rest of the state.”
While community leaders and advocates continued their primary agenda for an increase of neighborhood participation in urban agriculture, their efforts were also directed towards youth programs in order to generate the next generation of advocates and additionally influence urban agriculture to be more diverse and inclusive in the future. A prime example of these youth programs is the Burbank Urban Garden at Luther Burbank High School, where the club meets four days a week after school and offers elective credits, allowing students to learn about seasonality, sustainability, crop rotation, and nutrition. The club members maintain their gardening space – which consists of a greenhouse, raised beds, and 40 fruit trees – and also hold annual plant sales.
However, despite recent efforts of promoting the positive effects of urban agriculture, there appeared to be deeply-rooted stigma among young people about farm work. For some African-Americans, agricultural labor was a burden to partake in considering the historical implications of slavery in the United States. For some Mexican-Americans and Hispanic-Americans, their older generation of family members were critical of it because they wanted their children to attend college.
Nonetheless, urban agriculture is on the rise and the vision for some advocates have recently shifted from creating opportunities for urban farming to assisting people in finding those opportunities, making it profitable, and building the business that they need to sustain it. Ever since Sacramento’s policies about urban agriculture have become less strict over the years, farmers’ markets have become frequent.
For more information of the case study by Heather Gehlert, click on the following link: http://s26107.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/bmsg_tce_bhc_from_farm_to_every_fork_sacramento_case_study2018-final-mid.pdf