My friend and colleague in the Toulan School, Megan Horst, and I, along with Lesli Hoey in the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan, just published a new article in the Journal of the American Planning Association, entitled: The intersection of planning, urban agriculture, and food justice: A review of the literature. The article emerged from our contribution to a White Paper, Scaling Up Agriculture in City-Regions to Mitigate FEW System Impacts, developed in support of a NSF-funded workshop held in 2015 at University of Michigan.
Here's the abstract:
Problem, research strategy, and findings: We draw on a multidisciplinary body of research to consider how planning for urban agriculture can foster food justice by benefitting socioeconomically disadvantaged residents. The potential social benefits of urban agriculture include increased access to food, positive health impacts, skill building, community development, and connections to broader social change efforts. The literature suggests, however, caution in automatically conflating urban agriculture’s social benefits with the goals of food justice. Urban agriculture may reinforce and deepen societal inequities by benefitting better resourced organizations and the propertied class and contributing to the displacement of lower-income households. The precariousness of land access for urban agriculture is another limitation, particularly for disadvantaged communities. Planners have recently begun to pay increased attention to urban agriculture but should more explicitly support the goals of food justice in their urban agriculture policies and programs.
Takeaway for practice: We suggest several key strategies for planners to more explicitly orient their urban agriculture efforts to support food justice, including prioritizing urban agriculture in long-term planning efforts, developing mutually respectful relationships with food justice organizations and urban agriculture participants from diverse backgrounds, targeting city investments in urban agriculture to benefit historically disadvantaged communities, increasing the amount of land permanently available for urban agriculture, and confronting the threats of gentrification and displacement from urban agriculture. We demonstrate how the city of Seattle (WA) used an equity lens in all of its programs to shift its urban agriculture planning to more explicitly foster food justice, providing clear examples for other cities.
I'm proud to announce that several of my students past and present, have exciting news!
Erin Goodling successfully defended her dissertation! It's called "Grassroots Resistance in the Sustainable City: Portland Harbor Superfund Site Contamination, Cleanup, and Collective Action".
Melanie Malone also just successfully defended her dissertation, entitled "Using Critical Physical Geography to Map the Unintended Consequences of Conservation Management Programs". She's headed off to a faculty position with a liberal arts undergraduate program called The Oregon Extension.
Dillon Mahmoudi has accepted a tenure-track position in the Department of Geography and Environmental Systems at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, where he'll be rocking the spatial analysis and geovisualization worlds with his cutting edge contributions to critical GIS... he successfully defended his thesis a few weeks ago, entitled "Making Software, Making Regions".
Congrats, Drs. Goodling, Malone, and Mahmoudi !!!
And there's more...
Mike Simpson, now a PhD candidate in geography at UBC, has been awarded a Fulbright scholarship to spend next year in the Department of Geography at the University of Minnesota, where he'll be working on his dissertation research on indigeneity, and pipelines. His project is entitled: "Capillaries of Capital: Neoliberal Natures, Leaky Sovereignties, and Poltical Ecologies of Pipelines".
And last but not least, Diana Denham received a prestigious Grassroots Development Field Research Fellowship from the Inter-American Foundation, which will fund her dissertation research in Oaxaca. Her project is entitled: "The Persistence of Indigenous Markets in Mexico’s “Supermarket Revolution".
Congrats to all! You make me really proud!
If you don't have institutional access to the journal, you can read the paper here for free or download a copy of the post-print here. The paper is built on a wider survey of UA organizations and businesses we conducted a couple of years ago when Mike was still a MURP student before heading to UBC (click here for the summary results of the overall survey).
A fantastic several days at the AAG meeting in Boston! Glad to see so many old friends and meet many new ones. I presented a work in progress entitled: "Critical reflexivity, contradictions, and an evolving politics of resourcefulness: Reflections on community-engagement when teaching about food justice” in a session called "Publics, Pedagogies, and Praxis: Engaged Research and Scholarship in Critical Geography" organized by Tracey Osborne at the University of Arizona and Joel Correia at Colorado, and moderated by Lucy Jarosz at Washington. Here's the abstract:
Reflecting on the five-year evolution of an undergraduate capstone course on urban agriculture and food systems, I examine the importance of critical reflexivity when engaging in a “politics of resourcefulness” (Derickson and Routledge 2015). My students and I collaborated with two quite different organizations over the course’s lifespan: a community-based gardening collective that operates more than a dozen gardens in a gentrifying part of Portland, Oregon, and a much larger, more conventional non-profit focused on constructing backyard gardens for low-income residents where many of those displaced by gentrification now live. I discuss the epistemological and pedagogical role of critical reflexivity – that of my students, community partners, and my own – in opening the door to better understanding of urban agriculture’s contradictions and more critical contributions to the food justice efforts of our community partners. Our successes, I argue, hinged on engaging explicitly with racism as it articulates through common approaches to community development, agrarian imaginaries, notions of healthy food, and ahistorical understandings of neighborhood change. I also observe how some of the challenges of heeding the call to “expose, propose, politicize” (Marcuse 2009) within the constraints of a ten-week term can be overcome by engaging with a single organization over several years.
Nathan McClintock is a geographer and professor of urban studies and planning at Portland State University.