Public Produce
200 pages, 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
Release Date:23 Sep 2009
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Public Produce

The New Urban Agriculture

Island Press

Public Produce makes a uniquely contemporary case not forcentral government intervention, but for local government involvementin shaping food policy. In what Darrin Nordahl calls “municipalagriculture,” elected officials, municipal planners, localpolicymakers, and public space designers are turning to the abundanceof land under public control (parks, plazas, streets, city squares,parking lots, as well as the grounds around libraries, schools,government offices, and even jails) to grow food.

Public agencies at one time were at best indifferent about, or atworst dismissive of, food production in the city. Today, publicofficials recognize that food insecurity is affecting everyone, notjust the inner-city poor, and that policies seeking to restructure theproduction and distribution of food to the tens of millions of peopleliving in cities have immediate benefits to community-wide health andprosperity.

This book profiles urban food growing efforts, illustrating thatthere is both a need and a desire to supplement our existing foodproduction methods outside the city with opportunities inside the city.Each of these efforts works in concert to make fresh produce moreavailable to the public. But each does more too: reinforcing a sense ofplace and building community; nourishing the needy and providingeconomic assistance to entrepreneurs; promoting food literacy and goodhealth; and allowing for “serendipitous sustenance.” Thereis much to be gained, Nordahl writes, in adding a bit of agrarianisminto our urbanism.

Darrin Nordahl is the city designer at the DavenportDesign Center in Iowa. He has taught in the planning program at theUniversity of California at Berkeley and is the author of My Kindof Transit.
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