Header LogoUrban Agriculture

Urban Agriculture

Growing food in the city is an expanding practice in communities with and without food security.  Heralded by some as a viable and sustainable supplement to conventional food systems, urban agriculture has many challenges to implementation.  In my SNRE course ‘Urban Agriculture’ students explore the motivations, benefits and difficulties of farming in the city.  The focus is on temperate North American cities with special emphasis on Detroit and other northern cities that must contend with the limitations of winter weather.  To balance current theory with practical application, we read and discuss a selection of scholarly papers and organizational reports.  Guest speakers, local leaders deeply involved with urban agriculture in the region, offer their insights on practical aspects of implementation.

In 2011, the Urban Agriculture was a 4 month discussion of whether and how urban agriculture might provide a socially acceptable and successful alternative for the deficient food system in Detroit. Interactions with some of the areas experts in urban agriculture were critical in our interpretation of research and reports about how urban agriculture helps and fares in North American cities.  This effort led to the production of evaluative reports on topics ranging from food security and health support to economic drivers and legal considerations as they relate to Detroit.  The ideas and interpretations are captured in a set of evaluative reports by a highly interdisciplinary group of students.  The reports were submitted to the City of Detroit Planning Office as a resource to help in their deliberations on supporting urban agriculture in Detroit. Copies of the report are available upon request to mchunter@umich.edu.


School of Natural Resources and Environment | University of Michigan