About the Journal

Urban Agriculture & Regional Food Systems is a multi-disciplinary gold open access journal that focuses on urban and peri-urban agriculture and systems of urban and regional food provisioning in developing, transition, and advanced economies.


SPECIAL ISSUES: Call for papers! View the open calls for papers for upcoming issues of Urban Agriculture and Regional Food Systems.

Featured Article

UAR vol 6, issue 1 cover - drawing of building with greenhouse on roof
Urban Food Forests in the American Southwest

In a paper featured from the upcoming Urban Agriculture & Regional Food Systems special issue on Urban Agroforestry, Allen and Mason study food forests in the American Southwest. They found that In addition to food production, these food forests are providing numerous other benefits such as mitigating the urban heat island effect, increasing local biodiversity, and improving the aesthetics of urban neighborhoods. Read more

Browse Articles

Open access

Food‐productive green infrastructure: Enabling agroecological transitions from an urban design perspective

  •  25 September 2021

Core Ideas

  • It will be of ecological, economic, and social advantage if GI embraces the food subject.
  • Food-productive GI can enhance nature-based solutions as spatial enabler of agroecological processes.
  • We propose a design research pathway to explore the suitability of food-productive GI.
  • We discuss this new hybrid infrastructure with a focus on landscape ecology.
  • We recommend a 10-step plan to consider food-productive GI for a postcarbon city.

Open access

Urban food forests in the American Southwest

  •  23 August 2021

Core Ideas

  • Food forests occur in a range of environments and communities in the American Southwest.
  • Despite the challenging climate and soils, food forests are a viable urban agroforestry practice.
  • In addition to food, the food forests are providing other ecological and social benefits.

Open access

Designing multifunctional urban agroforestry with people in mind

  •  6 August 2021

Core Ideas

  • The practice of urban agroforestry (UAF) outpaces research on system science and design.
  • A system-specific complex ecological aesthetic design language could enhance multifunctionality.
  • Evidence-based design guidelines, principles, and strategies can inform UAF practice.
  • Additional research is needed to bridge the gap between practice and theory.

Open access

The governance of a community garden with a food cycle in suburban Tokyo

  •  7 July 2021

Core Ideas

  • Community gardens (CGs) are a potential way to establish a food cycle.
  • This study examined the governance of a Japanese CG that recycled kitchen wastes.
  • The garden founder had a strong motivation and a flexible attitude.
  • The food cycle produced activities that involved local institutions.
  • Close communication could help maintain waste separation quality.

Open access

Public food forest opportunities and challenges in small municipalities

  •  15 June 2021

Core Ideas

  • Small municipalities lack policies to support food forests in public spaces.
  • Local leaders view maintenance as the greatest barrier to planting edible, woody perennials.
  • Small municipalities vary in their interest and ability to support food forest initiatives.
  • Emphasizing cultural benefits may be an important for increasing food forests in the United States.

more >
Open access

Diversifying Economic Practices in Meal Sharing and Community Gardening

Abstract

Core Ideas

  • Diverse economic practices are shaped in everyday, domestic activities.
  • People explore diverse economic practices to expand their repertoires of action.
  • Practices can combine aspects of different economic spheres.
  • Boundary crossing opens up space for alternative economic practices.

This article aims to contribute to the diverse economies program of Gibson-Graham. By studying the economic activities of participants of two Dutch food initiatives, we make diverse economic practices visible. Semi-structured interviews were our main research method. Our analysis shows alternative, nonmarket, and noncapitalist elements, displaying inventiveness, creativity, and ease to cross borders between mainstream and alternative economic options. We explored the microscale reality of creating alternatives, focusing on how participants explore economic spaces and shape these. We demonstrate that people diversify their economic practices so as to better fit these into their daily lives. Especially the crossing of the public–private divide makes space for these alternative economic practices. Hence, respondents aim to expand their “repertoires of action”, looking to engage in activities that are useful, challenging, and enjoyable, and that enable the inclusion of ethical and pragmatic values. However, while rewarding, these alternative economic practices are also insecure and precarious. We suggest that rather than assessing diverse economic practices on their effects of ending the dominance of mainstream capitalist economies, they should be evaluated regarding the way in and degree to which they enable an expansion of repertoires of economic action.

Open access

Mental Models of Soil Management for Food Security in Peri‐Urban India

Abstract

Core Ideas

  • There is a perceived link between soil, plant, and human health.
  • Soil health and food security are culturally influenced concepts.
  • Stakeholders’ mental models provide insight into culturally appropriate technology.
  • Soil management for food security needs to be culturally appropriate.
  • Stakeholders’ mental models offer insight to enhance extension communication.

Agricultural development during the Green Revolution brought India food sovereignty but food insecurity persists. Increased crop production was promoted without considering the more holistic impact on food security. Scientists, extension agents, and farmers have different perspectives on how soil health relates to food security. Understanding stakeholders’ perspectives is essential to improving extension communication and mitigating consequences. This study uses qualitative interviews to construct mental models of soil health for food security. The study site is a peri-urban watershed, which is currently participating in the Integrated Farmer Participatory Watershed Management Model (IFPWM). Our study details and defines stakeholders’ mental models of soil health, soil nutrient management, soil sodicity, and food security. A triad belief held by farmers shows the strongly perceived causal relationship between soil health, plant health, and human health. Healthy soil produces healthy food and humans that eat such food will be healthy. Scientists only perceive one condition to achieving food security in the community—food quantity. However, all other stakeholders perceived another risk to food security—food quality. Eating poor quality food is perceived as linked to human health problems in the community. This research suggests the importance of including a fifth dimension of food security, cultural acceptability, within agricultural technology development and dissemination.

Open access

Understanding Urban Food Producers’ Intention to Continue Farming in Urban Settings

Abstract

Urban food producers play an important role in food systems around the world. Understanding the factors that may influence producers’ intention to produce food is important to predict their behavior. The purpose of this study was to examine one city in the United States and describe factors that may influence the intention of urban food producers to continue farming in urban settings, and specifically identify factors that influence attitude, perceived behavioral control, and subjective norms toward urban food production. The study followed a qualitative design using semi-structured interviews. The results revealed factors that can both positively and negatively influence Columbus urban food producers’ intention to continue farming in urban settings. Perceived complexity can negatively influence attitude and hinder food producers’ intention to continue urban food production while subjective norms, influenced by peer growers and family members, may heighten intention to continue urban food production. The findings also revealed personal characteristics, such as education and access to resources, that may enhance perceived behavioral control. The findings can be used by various regions of the world to develop urban food production. Implications expose opportunities for urban food producers, extension, institutions, and future researchers to address existing complexities, develop educational programs, and enhance social ties to provide support for farming in urban settings.

Open access

Assessing Urban Community Gardens’ Impact on Net Primary Production using NDVI

Abstract

Core Ideas

  • Urban agriculture can make positive impacts on the physical urban landscape.
  • We explore the use of vegetation indices commonly used in commercial agriculture and forestry in assessing environmental benefits from urban agriculture.
  • Cultivating a vacant lot for urban agriculture increases Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI).
  • Urban agriculture's increasing NDVI correlates with an increase in net primary production.
  • Urban agriculture contributes to ecosystem services.

Community gardens are one form of urban agriculture–growing of food and non-food products for sale or consumption within urban and peri-urban areas. Urban community gardens provide many benefits, including provisioning of fresh and nutritious foods, supporting environmental education, nurturing social interaction and community building, and contributing to sustainability. In many cities worldwide, urban agriculture is now integrated within urban planning programs. Although social, community, and nutritional benefits of community gardens are well documented, few quantitative assessments of their environmental benefits exist. None have applied Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) as an environmental metric. NDVI is widely used in forestry and agriculture to track changes in vegetation phenology, assess vegetation stress and health, and, in urban areas, to separate vegetation from impervious surfaces. NDVI has a positive relationship with net primary production. We used NDVI product from U.S. satellites–Landsats 5, 7, and 8–to assess urban community garden sites. We conducted a time series analysis over the 2007 to 2015 growing seasons (May–September) for three eastern U.S. cities–Roanoke, VA; Pittsburgh, PA; and Buffalo, NY. Our results show that establishment of community gardens alter seasonal NDVI trajectories, sometimes with initial declines, but then increasing over time. Furthermore, NDVI profiles reveal the vigorous character of urban agriculture.

Open access

Short Food Supply Chains in Urban Areas: Who Takes the Lead? Evidence from Three Cities across Europe

Abstract

Core Ideas

  • Local intermediaries can stimulate innovative organizational models in short chains.
  • Leadership in short chains determines prioritization between sustainability goals.
  • Trust and communication, more than distance, are short chain key elements.
  • Flexible regulation can contribute to speeding up development of innovative partnerships.
  • Qualitative research can support SMEs with an integrated vision of their supply chain.

Short food supply chain (SFSCs) initiatives have developed throughout Europe as an alternative to the long industrialized chains characterizing the contemporary global food industry. They are often driven by small-scale actors belonging to different phases of the chain (producers, retailers, consumers) and rooted in specific territorial contexts. Innovative organizational models of SFSCs are attracting interest in the academic field (Jarosz, 2008, Khan and Prior, 2010, Aubry and Kebir, 2013) and beyond (RUAF, 2015). This work contributes to the debate with a focus on the logistics of SFSCs in urban and peri-urban areas across Europe, specifically on the role of local intermediaries in facilitating connections between urban consumers and peri-urban and rural farmers. The structure of three small/medium enterprises (SMEs) acting as local SFSC intermediaries has been analyzed by a research network involving researchers and entrepreneurs in a mutual learning process. The aim was to identify the main business objectives of local intermediaries in SFSCs, the elements that from the SMEs point of view characterize SFSCs and their vision of sustainability. A simple theoretical model has been developed to look at leadership of SFSCs in urban and peri-urban areas. The research process provided interesting insight into the contribution that qualitative research can give to SMEs’ reflection on their organizational model (Zakic et al., 2014).

Latest news

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. commodo vitae, ornare sit amet, wisi. Donec non enim in turpis pulvinar facilisis.

  1. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit.
  2. Aliquam tincidunt mauris eu risus.