URBAN FARMING AND GARDENING TAKING ROOTS IN INNER CITIES
When the wealthier city dwellers moved out to suburbs leaving the less fortunate ones behind, many neighborhoods became blighted, their tax base declined, leaving the properties and the vacant lots totally uncared for. We see this scene repeated in the inner city areas of the two largest metropolitan cities (St. Louis and Kansas City) in the state of Missouri, USA. The lack of security, increased vandalism coupled with low purchasing power of the residents have forced neighborhood grocery stores to close down and move elsewhere, thus making these communities virtual food deserts. Focusing on the low-income, socially disadvantaged population in Missouri, the Innovative Small Farmers Outreach Program (ISFOP) at Lincoln University Cooperative Extension works with urban gardeners/farmers and residents and assists them in alleviating some of the problems. The goal of ISFOPs urban agriculture component is to improve the management of urban farms and gardens, increase the supply of fresh fruits and vegetables in these communities, and improve the health and well-being of these citizens. The ISFOP staff works one-on-one with the farmers, home gardeners and community leaders and offers them information and education on managing land, growing nutritious fruits and vegetables for home consumption and selling the surplus to make a little extra money. For those city dwellers that do not have an appropriate garden spot, we help them set up community gardens. Our efforts are already paying dividends; we see many inner city folks taken up gardening as a hobby and enjoy eating what they grow, and those farming in the cities are making viable incomes from their operations.
Gu, S., Paul, K.B., Nixon , K. and Duschack, M. (2012). URBAN FARMING AND GARDENING TAKING ROOTS IN INNER CITIES. Acta Hortic. 937, 1097-1107
urban gardening, small farms, socially disadvantaged