Does Urban Agriculture Improve Food Security? Examining the Nexus of Food Access and Distribution of Urban Produced Foods in the United States: A Systematic Review
Alana Siegner, Charisma Acey, Jennifer Sowerwine
agriculture, food environment, food policy, food security, Urban Agriculture
Urban agriculture has rapidly gained popularity as a method of providing access to fresh fruits and vegetables in low-income communities as well as providing exposure of agriculture to those who live in the city. These urban farms are usually run by members of the community. However, through focus groups, case studies, and a set of critical analyses, researchers found that urban agriculture is not the only solution that will improve food access to ensure food security. The focus on food desserts and their lack of grocery stores overlooks the historical underinvestment patterns and underlying structural causes of food insecurity and oversimplifies the solutions landscape. This narrow focus on increasing access doesn’t guarantee that the most vulnerable are obtaining food and whether or not they are consuming it. Policymakers should ensure that the communities that depend on urban farms receive city support because it can place a burden on struggling households to find the time, money, and expertise to run these farms.