Some New Yorkers are involved with urban agriculture simply because they want to grow their own fresh vegetables. But farmers and gardeners of all varieties describe a broad and civic-minded set of goals and objectives that guide their work, including providing safe space for local residents, cleaning and remediating vacant or underused spaces, educating young people, connecting residents to nature, and creating opportunities for residents to earn income. This section, while not comprehensive, highlights some of the key activities that take place at the city's farms and gardens, and organizes them into four broad categories.
Urban farmers and gardeners seek to improve the health of participants through a variety of strategies: providing access to nutritious food, educating people about the relationship between good nutrition and health, motivating people to increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables, and involving people in gardening as a form of physical actitivy.
Urban farms and gardens offer spaces for people to meet, beautify the neighborhood, and join campaigns for social and political change.
Some farms and gardens host farmers markets, which sell produce from both local sites and regional farms. Local residents may earn income selling produce they've grown at these markets, or by helping to manage some aspects of the market. Some farms and gardens pay stipends to teenagers to manage farm operations and participate in leadership programs.
Farmers and gardeners work to improve the environmental conditions of their communities in numerous ways. For instance, urban farmers and gardeners capture and reuse rainwater, and turn food waste into compost. While these activities help people grow food, they also reduce the amount of rainwater that floods the city's sewer systems during storms and the amount of trash the city pays to haul to landfills.
Clearing and transforming vacant land
Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA)
Social gathering spaces
Youth empowerment and job training
Cooking and nutrition classes
Community-based research and organizing
Food justice / social justice education