The urban farming toolkit

City and suburban agriculture takes the form of backyard, roof-top and balcony gardening, community gardening in vacant lots and parks, roadside urban fringe agriculture and livestock grazing in open space. (USDA Urban Agriculture)

Small community gardens, urban farms that span several city blocks, and intensive indoor hydroponic or aquaculture facilities are all examples of urban agriculture. This fast-growing phenomenon has the potential to nourish the health and social fabric of communities and create economic opportunities for farmers and neighborhoods. But it also comes with a unique set of challenges and opportunities.

Urban farmers, federal and city government agencies, and local organizations around the country have developed a variety of tools to help address those challenges and assist the growth of agriculture in cities. This toolkit makes these resources available to anyone interested in participating in urban farming.

The toolkit lays out the common operational elements that most urban farmers must consider as they start up or grow their operations. It also contains a special section on resources for developing indoor growing operations, such as aquaponic facilities. For each element, the toolkit identifies technical and financial resources that have been developed by federal, state, and local partners. While some of the elements require local-level solutions (e.g. zoning), federal programs and services can support a variety of activities related to urban farming.

Download the toolkit : Urban Farming Toolkit – U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The toolkit identifies and describes technical and financial resources developed by urban farmers, federal and city government agencies, and local organizations that address considerations for new urban farmers. Key resources include: Business Planning/Risk Management; Land Access; Soil Quality; Water Access/Use; Accessing Capital and Financing; Infrastructure; Production Strategies; Market Development; Training and Mentoring; and Safety and Security.

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