Maximum Yield USA March 2018 | Page 88

cycl urban agriculture legislation So let it be written NOVEL LEGISLATION IN THE US URBAN AGRICULTURE MOVEMENT The term “urban agriculture” has traditionally been used to describe small-scale, grassroots gardening operations that supply local charities and farm-to-table restaurants. However, as the landscape of modern agriculture evolves and comes to utilize indoor gardening and hydroponic technologies in the production of fresh foods within city environments, urban farming is beginning to garner more mainstream attention. So, why don’t urban farmers receive some of the same government assistance as rural farmers? Turns out, that may be changing. T he farming industry in the United States is a proud tradition. For many, the ideals of hard work and self-sufficiency that go hand-in-hand with farming define what it is to be an American. While the underlying principles of the American farmer may remain relatively unaltered throughout generations, agribusiness—like any other business—is largely shaped by the influences of governments, technologies, and economies. In the last century, technological advancements coupled with globalized trade have drastically changed the landscape of the farming industry in the US. To this end, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has set in place a variety of welfare programs to ensure the financial success of farmers as well as the affordability of food for the US population. Under the Farm Bill, these government programs support farmers with free education, financial assistance, conservation incentives, insurance programs, and economic development. Urban farmers don’t receive the same sort of government protections seen with traditional agriculture. For reasons such as this, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) has proposed an Urban Agriculture Act and an Office of Urban Agriculture to help regulate and sustain this largely artisanal movement in modern crop production. The Urban Agriculture Act sets forth to provide government-subsidized services and programs for the urban farming sector. 86 grow cycle by Kent Gruetzmacher