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Urban Agriculture: A Tool for Creating Economic Development and Healthy Communities in Prince George’s County, Maryland

Agriculture has been amongst the most favorite amusements of my life. – George Washington

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
September 2012
168 pages (Must see. Mike)

This report introduces the concept of urban agriculture, presents its characteristics, and discusses its relationship to food system planning, sustainability, and public health. A sample of innovative community-based urban agriculture projects around the nation and in Prince George’s County serves to show the hands-on implementation of the concept. Planning and public policy for urban agriculture are discussed along with possible actions that planners and policy makers may take to support it.

This is supplemented by the nation’s best local government practices for incorporating urban agriculture into urban and suburban areas. Guided by the experience of other jurisdictions, specific policy recommendations suited to Prince George’s County are developed and presented along with strategies in the concluding chapter of the report.

Excerpt from Executive Summary

Every Prince George’s County resident deserves access to healthy, affordable, and ethnically appropriate food. Urban agriculture can be used as an important tool towards this end. The following are policy recommendations to turn urban agriculture into a thriving industry and to make fresh, nutritious food available to all Prince Georgians. Multiple strategies for each policy are proposed in the report:

1. Recognize urban agriculture as a viable industry and use it as a tool to develop a robust economy.

2. Integrate urban agriculture into land use planning.

3. Provide access to suitable land for urban agriculture activities.

4. Establish community gardens in all neighborhoods.

5. Encourage new development and redevelopment projects in the Developed and Developing Tiers to include urban agriculture.

6. Provide education on urban agriculture and healthy eating.

7. Promote and support direct marketing opportunities for urban and suburban farmers.

8. Permit backyard chickens in all residential areas.

9. Permit beekeeping in urban and suburban areas.

10. Promote and support composting.

11. Encourage edible landscaping.

12. Amend the Zoning Ordinance to accommodate urban agriculture uses and activities and remove, reduce, and/or loosen zoning barriers to urban agriculture.

Table of contents

Executive Summary
What is urban agriculture?

Definition of urban agriculture?
A brief history of urban agriculture
Types of urban agriculture
Places for urban agriculture
Urban agriculture activities
Urban agriculture vs. rural agriculture

Why urban agriculture important?

Urban agriculture and food system planning

Urban agriculture and sustainability
Economic development
Environmental protection
Community development

Urban agriculture and public health

Innovative community-based urban agriculture projects around the nation

Urban agriculture in Prince George’s County
Urban farms
Gardening activities

Planning and public policy for urban agriculture
Planning for urban agriculture
Public policy for urban agriculture

Policy recommendations and strategies for Prince George’s County

See the complete report here.