New Jersey's nickname as 'The Garden State,' might seem a misnomer given that it is the most heavily urbanized state, with 92.2% of its population residing within urbanized areas.However, one could argue that the nickname is apt since agriculture remains the state's third largest industry and one-fourth of the state is publicly owned or deed-restricted parkland or farmland. Meanwhile, residents in the state struggle with food insecurity - 12.7% of the population and 19% of children werefood insecure in 2011 - as well as nutrition-related health problems and obesity.To address healthy, affordable food access, community activists and officials are working to identify needs and network resources to address the full spectrum of food production, distribution, affordability, and nutrition. Urban agriculture is part of a community food access strategy, linked to not only fresh food access but also to education, cultural appropriateness, and outreach efforts.This project seeks to reveal the urban agricultural fabric within the variety of urban and suburban communities of New Jersey and to explore its 'bigger picture' as a networked system.This project has three goals: 1) to continue work documenting the extent and practices of community gardens and urban agricultural efforts in New Jersey, 2) to contextualize local urban agricultural efforts in New Jersey, with particular focus on urban networks serving low-income and food-insecure communities, and 3) to assist in the networking of local efforts to reveal state-wide impact and support these efforts. It seeks to reveal networking that occurs within an urban agriculture project (i.e. community garden) to access resources, beyond the project to anchor it in its social and community context, and across different urban agricultural efforts to frame a larger urban agriculture presence in the state.This project engages in participatory action research methods. We will work with organizations to document networking and assist in their capacity building. The first scale is documeting individual projects through interviews, site mapping, diagramming, and photography.The second scale is to document networks at a city scale, leading to case studies of efforts in New Brunswick and Trenton. The third scale is to document networks growing at a state-scale through work with two state-wide NGOs seeking to support urban agriculture through web-based GIS mapping.The ultimate goal is toincrease knowledge of urban agriculture at both the local and state level through city-wide and state-wide studies of networking.This project will also result in tangible products useful to communities: site maps, web-based mapping, and GIS deployment tailored to their needs and capacities.
|Effective start/end date||12/11/14 → 10/31/17|
- National Institute of Food and Agriculture (National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA))