Letter: Urban agriculture is needed now more than ever

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In a vast, sprawling city like Fargo, access to green space is abundant. Cities around the world with less space have addressed urban food access and production through innovative, space-saving solutions such as vegetable gardens on roof-tops and hydroponic systems, to name a few. Fargo has the opportunity to both see and create potential. How can we engage with the abundant fertile soil of the valley to support the health and resiliency of our urban community?

Homes in suburban developments situated on former agricultural land with infrastructure, water and storage capabilities have the potential to produce intensively on a small scale. For example, Jean-Martin Fortier, a Québécois farmer, grows enough to supply 140 CSA shares on a mere 1.5 acres of land. Cul-de-sacs in housing developments could emerge as small hubs of collaboration and sharing of tools, seeds and knowledge.

Imagine, instead, these convergent spaces of growers and resources in parts of our city where large backyards aren't the status quo. How do we make growing accessible to all? Access to leased land in a collaborative setting could prepare the proverbial bed for new farm business start-ups, food hubs, education, and equity to grow in the city.

We're coming to understand the fragility of our current food system, showing urban agriculture is needed now more than ever. Urban agriculture displays the skills inherent in the hands of our community members and is a classroom for the next generation of growers. The city needs to prioritize these needs and spaces for this work to take root.

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