Together We Sow The Seeds: Social Interaction, Ethics, and Justice in Urban Agriculture

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Brette Jackson


In times of economic instability, Americans have relied on government subsidized agricultural projects as a means of augmenting nutriments in their communities since the turn of the century. Urban agriculture (UA) continues to be utilized as a reliable strategy for insuring food security in urban, particularly low-income, areas. However, UA further nurtures metropolitan neighborhoods by providing unique opportunities for social interaction that creates greater cohesion of the community overall. In this paper, I offer a definition of UA, and illustrate the history of garden projects, and the effect they had on American society during periods of war, and national economic hardship. I go on to discuss the role of UA as a factor to improve community health, as well as its role in creating greater social interaction within urban neighborhoods, and how this interaction redefines the concept of community in the 21st century. In so doing, I look specifically at two urban garden projects in Baltimore and Los Angeles, respectively. I evaluate how UA is a natural system that empowers and creates autonomy among members in communities that have limited access to healthy food (food deserts). Finally I look at UA as a means to mitigate race relations between Blacks and Whites living in multi-racial communities, and I analyze land-right ethics and justice issues, by looking at the preservation and destruction of urban agricultural projects in New York, and Los Angeles.


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