Indicators of Land Insecurity for Urban Farms: Institutional Affiliation, Investment, and Location


Joshua Arnold, Paul Rogé


Bay Area, California, food policy, food security, Urban Farm



Year Published:


Policy Summary

Urban agriculture has demonstrated ecological, economical, and social benefits in the United States. The percentage of urban farming participation has risen 34% from 2007 to 2011. However, it is often regarded as a transitory land-use activity and a temporary solution to food security.  The political and economic issues many urban food producers face has affected their security of tenure and access to land. Between the years of 2016 and 2018, three surveys were conducted in two areas known for their urban agriculture: the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles County. The farms in these areas were divided by tenure status– high-security and low-security. The tenure-secure farms studied were mostly affiliated with schools, and were more able to pay for services such as irrigation and hire full-time managers — indicators of long-term sustainability. In contrast,  tenure-insecure farms were not usually affiliated with any institutions and were also less likely to afford necessary farming services (like irrigation or staff), even if they were in higher-income neighborhoods.

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