What is Urban Agriculture?

Urban agriculture can be defined as growing fruits, herbs, and vegetables and raising animals in cities, a process that is accompanied by many other complementary activities such as processing and distributing food, collecting and reusing food waste and rainwater, and educating, organizing, and employing local residents. Urban agriculture is integrated in individual urban communities and neighborhoods, as well as in the ways that cities function and are managed, including municipal policies, plans, and budgets.

While this definition encompasses an extremely wide range of growing spaces and practices, Five Borough Farm focuses on public, communal, and institutional projects. These projects often function as public space, and typically engage a broader range of stakeholders—including city officials, funders, support organizations, and the general public—than individuals growing vegetables on their own rooftops or fire escapes. 

This website and the Five Borough Farm publication use the term “farmers and gardeners” as shorthand for people growing food in public, communal, and institutional spaces, and participating in the many other aspects of urban agriculture. Hundreds of gardens citywide do not produce food, but provide open space, gathering places, and sites for growing flowers and trees. Five Borough Farm focuses on sites that produce food, but recognizes that all of these spaces contribute in important ways to New Yorkers' quality of life.