The Public Health and Environmental Benefits of Urban Agriculture: An Analysis of Stakeholder Perspectives
Begley, Nicholas H.
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The potential public health and environmental benefits of urban agricultural systems are widely accepted to produce outcomes that can improve the overall health of individuals, communities and the environment. However, professionals, academics, and policy makers may disagree regarding what those potential benefits are, or they may place different values on the importance of such benefits. There are substantial economic, political, and physical barriers that will have a significant impact on the future development of urban agricultural systems, and the efficacy of each individual urban and peri-urban food system is difficult to measure. Attempting to quantify a value for healthy environments and communities versus economic activity and the need for affordable housing is problematic. Stakeholders in the field of agriculture may provide valuable insights into the reality of a hyper-localized food systems and offer a suitable starting point to discuss the future policy implications. This study obtained data through qualitative interviews that supports the idea that stakeholders in the field of urban agriculture share similar perceptions on the potential public health and environmental benefits—while also dispelling some previous assumptions and expanding on new research topics. Any public health or environmental benefits that may be achievable through urban agriculture will only happen when the political, economic and social barriers are addressed.
- MA in Policy Studies