Measuring impacts of urban agriculture organizations on community revitalization efforts



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Urban agriculture has been a recognized component of functioning urban landscapes since the beginning of civilization. Starting in the 20th century, formally recognized urban agriculture movements emerged in the form of victory gardens during both World Wars, and then again in the late 1970s through the creation of community gardens as a facet of social activism (Hodgson, 3). By the year 2000, urban agriculture was predominantly sponsored by local, mission-driven organizations created to promote social equity and provide economic opportunity for members of their respective communities (Hodgson, 3). The ongoing decrease in urban populations in de-industrialized cities, coupled with alarming rates of obesity, obesity related disease, malnutrition and a burgeoning awareness of food insecurity in distressed urban areas has sparked a growing interest in existing urban agricultural movements and their potential to serve as engines for economic and social revitalization. I intend to explore the implications of the popular urban agriculture revival in distressed communities and the role of urban agriculture organizations in ongoing economic and social revitalization efforts.
My research will focus on established urban agriculture organizations and their role in revitalization of distressed communities. Specifically, I will explore how urban agriculture organizations drive revitalization in distressed urban areas and how their impact on revitalization efforts are measured. Given the potential economic and social benefits of urban agriculture, it is important to look towards organizations utilizing successful models for implementation and how they are impacting broader revitalization efforts within their respective communities. As part of my research, I will evaluate three well-established urban agriculture organizations, with track records of success across 4 differing dimensions: economic, social, environmental, and systemic. The goal of my research is to identify and measure the impacts urban agriculture organizations in relation to a set of broader outcomes associated with revitalization efforts.