Please sign our petition to bring urban agriculture to Virginia Beach! To learn more about urban ag, please see below.
What is urban agriculture?
- “Urban agriculture allows for the development of a variety of environmental, economic, and social benefits to the surrounding communities. Urban farming can reduce transportation costs, help reduce runoff associated with heavy rainfall, and lead to better air quality. Beekeeping and cultivation of native plants can provide pollination services to the community. Supporting local food producers, such as through a community supported agriculture (CSA) membership, also contributes to regional economic development by keeping capital within the local economy.”
Urban agriculture and our environment:
- “Urban farms could supply almost the entire recommended consumption of vegetables for city dwellers, while cutting food waste and reducing emissions from the transportation of agricultural products.”
- “Keeping chickens is one of the optional Climate Victory Gardening practices because of the animals’ climate-savvy fertilization techniques (manure) and their ability to divert organic wastes from the landfill where it would otherwise generate potent greenhouse gases.”
Urban agriculture and our food systems:
- “Urban and peri-urban agriculture is considered as a strategy that can bring multiple benefits and help to build resilient urban food systems at the city region level. Cities have an important role to play in climate change mitigation and adaptation, disaster risk management and in enhancing the climate resilience of their vulnerable residents.”
Urban agriculture and our economy:
- “There was substantial research indicating that urban agriculture saves participants money on their food expenditures. Community gardeners who participated in research studies frequently discussed the cost savings of growing food (Blair et al., 1991; Patel, 1991; Suarez-Balcazar, 2006). Some reports quantify the savings which ranges from $475 a season for individual gardeners (Patel, 1991) to $915,000 worth of food a year for an entire community garden program (Bellows, Brown, & Smit, 2005). Since most gardeners have to pay little or nothing for plots and many programs provide tools and utilities, the average cost of gardens was $25 per plot, giving gardeners a high return (Patel, 1991).”
- “A few studies correlate urban farms and community gardens to increasing home values and household income (Liu, 2008; Voicu & Been, 2008). The presence of gardens raised property values as much as 9.4% within five years of establishment (Voicu & Been, 2008). Tax revenues from these property increases were estimated at half a million dollars per garden over twenty years, making initial investments from government agencies for community garden and farm projects cost productive (Voicu & Been, 2008). However, McClintock (2013) notes that these gardens and farms can attract younger, more affluent populations which can often lead to gentrification, culturally changing neighborhoods and alienating long-time residents.”
Urban agriculture and our health:
- “A study by Northumbria University, published in 2013, showed that Henpower not only helps to beat loneliness and depression, it also reduces the need for antipsychotic medication in care homes. Henpower encourages people to take full responsibility for therapy chickens, so they’re not just petting them. Participants have a lot of interaction with the project while learning about different aspects of chicken care. Volunteers take therapy chickens to schools, events, and care environments, where people enjoy the interaction and learn about the birds.”
- “Nutrition: Urban agriculture offers increased access to healthy, locally grown, and culturally appropriate food sources. Having space to grow and share food is especially important in disinvested and underserved neighborhoods, where finding affordable fruits and vegetables can be challenging. Plus, growing and eating food locally reduces the distance food travels to our plates – which is good for our climate and our health, as food loses nutritional value in transport.
- Health: While eating fresh food is beneficial in and of itself, the act of growing that food also boosts physical and mental health. Research shows that working with plants—and putting our hands in the dirt—provides outdoor physical activity, induces relaxation, and reduces stress, anxiety, blood pressure, and muscle tension.”