Anthropology, Department of


Date of this Version


Document Type



Nebraska Anthropologist 2013


Copyright 2013


Significant attention has been paid to issues of water and rural agriculture worldwide and the nexus of water and urban agriculture in developing countries; however, very little research has been conducted on how water is understood and managed to grow food in cities of the Global North like the United States. To address this literature gap, the author explores the relationship between urban agriculture and water in the United States using a collective case study approach to examine urban farms and community gardens based in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri. Qualitative data was collected through semi-structured interviews, participant observation, and documentation from several urban farms and gardens. The following themes were discerned using thematic analysis: water as elemental, water conservation, storm water runoff mitigation, biodiversity, social responsibility, experimentation and learning, and innovative engineering. This exploratory pilot study provides indications of fertile research directions that will help to better illuminate the role that urban agriculture may play in fostering resilience in cities.