Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version



Urban Agric Region Food Syst. 2020;5:e20003.

DOI: 10.1002/uar2.20003




Urban agriculture is a growing movement in cities across the United States, including the post-industrial Midwest. Maintaining a resilient local food system is a challenge given the environmental, resource, and institutional barriers facing urban farmers. In this descriptive correlational study, we take an in-depth look at the demographics, farm characteristics, motivations, barriers, and resilience indicators of individuals in the urban agriculture system in Lansing, Michigan, a city of the US Midwest with a growing urban agriculture system. Survey responses (n = 92) revealed that support actors, community gardeners, and farmers have descriptive differences in their motivations, with support actors (e.g. non-profits, university extension, or municipalities) being most strongly motivated by social and environmental justice. Community gardeners reported the lowest barriers to engaging in urban agriculture. Individuals who reported stronger motivations for building community and social and environmental justice showed significant correlations to several resilience indicators, indicating that those motivations may be important to system resilience. Urban agriculture support agencies report high barriers and are most often consulted for informational and social support. These results can inform recommendations for organizations, local governments, and researchers working in midwestern urban agriculture initiatives to better assess and promote a thriving system into the future