When combined with traditional local agriculture, urban agriculture provides a unique opportunity to build and strengthen a robust local food system. This is especially true here in New England, where interest in local food is booming, but easy and affordable access to it is still limited, especially for low-income urban residents.
Providing more access to land for farming in our cities will help accelerate urban agriculture and support low-income, people of color, immigrant, and New American farmers in search of land on which to grow.
Even as we mourn the lives lost to COVID-19 and absorb the heavy toll it has taken on our economy, we must recognize that the old “normal” left too many communities unhealthy and especially vulnerable to the pandemic. Replicating that old “normal” will squander an opportunity to reduce climate danger while building healthier and more just communities for all.
As Director of Agriculture and Environment for Nuestras Raíces, a Holyoke-based community organization, Rafael Herrero is overseeing an ambitious effort to train 100 new farmers in earth-friendly practices over the next two years.