Urban agri-<em>culture</em>: building resilience in social systems — ASN Events

Urban agri-culture: building resilience in social systems (17137)

Katharine Archdeacon

The impacts on cities of climate change and resource scarcity are driving research into developing urban resilience.  The resilience of cities describes their ability to continue to function in conditions of unpredictable and sustained shocks.  Resilience is a function of healthy social and ecological systems that are complex and interdependent. 

Urban agriculture is regarded as a practice that can be used to increase the resilience of a city, and particularly of its food system.  However, urban agriculture links humans and nature in its practice and so it is in fact a social-ecological system that produces food, rather than simply an urban food-producing system. In places where urban agriculture is not a direct and urgent response to food insecurity, it is being used to provide social or ecological services while concurrently creating food-producing spaces in the urban landscape.  In these places there is a window of opportunity to develop holistic urban agriculture that is integrated into urban social and ecological systems and truly builds urban resilience.

Some exemplary urban agricultural practices have found ways to include social and ecological systems in their work. This paper draws from literature and fieldwork to discuss the central role that food-focused celebrations play in allowing these practices to build adaptive persistent food systems.