WASHINGTON– Supporting the effort to bridge the divide between urban and rural America through agriculture, National Farmers Union (NFU) commended Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) for championing new legislation that fosters opportunities for urban agriculture. The Urban Agriculture Act of 2016, which will be introduced later this week, would expand U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs to support urban farmers, encouraging food production, job creation, urban revitalization and diversity in agriculture production.
“Urban agriculture plays an important role in reconnecting the food consumer with the farmer. It is also a part of meeting rising food demands, supplying easier access to highly nutritious vegetables and fruits, and establishing new market opportunities for emerging farmers. NFU supports Ranking Member Stabenow’s efforts towards ensuring emerging and existing urban producers have the tools and resources to join rural producers in maintaining a sustainable food system,” said NFU President Roger Johnson.
“Regardless of where or how America’s farmers and ranchers produce food, giving them the technology and tools to succeed supports our nation’s strength and security. The Urban Agricultural Act of 2016 would do that for farmers in urban settings. As an organization that supports farmers of all sizes, commodities and production systems, Farm Bureau believes this legislation will build a stronger bond among all farmers—rural, suburban and urban,” said American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall.
According to USDA, urban agriculture practices are successfully using rooftops, abandoned properties, empty lots, and aquaponics centers in old warehouses to grow gardens and crops. Not only has urban farming regenerated community beautification efforts, it has also provided many other local benefits, including closer neighborhood ties, reduced crime, and provided education and job training opportunities, and healthy food access for low-income residents.