AFBF Delegates Approve Urban Agriculture Policy
Voting delegates at American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF)'s 2022 Annual Meeting adopted more than a dozen new policies including a policy on urban agriculture, submitted by the Cook County Farm Bureau.
Cook County Farm Bureau’s policy defines urban agriculture as a wide range of activities from cultivation to processing and from marketing to distribution of food in urban and suburban settings in both outdoor and indoor facilities. It also recognizes the importance of urban agriculture to the agricultural economy.
Adam Nielsen, Illinois Farm Bureau® National Legislative Director, said both California and Michigan Farm Bureaus presented their own policies on urban agriculture to the AFBF Resolutions Committee, suggesting that the issue is top-of-mind for farm member organizations across the U.S.
Cook County Farm Bureau’s urban agriculture policy is the direct result of member engagement and Farm Bureau’s grassroots policy process. Farm Bureau members recognized the need for policy language supporting and encouraging the development and expansion of urban agriculture and moved the issue forward to the Illinois Farm Bureau Resolution Committee, full voting delegation, and ultimately AFBF. Members are encouraged to contact Bona Heinsohn at [email protected] to discuss policy ideas.
This new policy section lays out Farm Bureau’s support for urban agriculture. Policy points include:
- Recognizing the importance of urban agriculture and its contribution to the agricultural economy.
- Urban agriculture providing safe, attractive, and welcoming spaces for neighbors to gather and foster a sense of community.
- County Farm Bureaus working with units of government to develop agriculture-friendly zoning policies.
- Using land management tools such as land banks, land trusts, conservation easements, and long-term leases on public and private lands so urban agriculture can flourish.
- Advocating for new developments to include opportunities for agriculture, including rooftop and home gardens, community gardens, and urban farms, where appropriate.
- Community programs providing services including trash collection, composting, water, and storage opportunities to alleviate costs and barriers to entry.
- Ensuring that urban agricultural sites have access to affordable clean water sources.
- Diverting organic waste into compost.
- Using raised beds or hydroponics to address soil-quality concerns.
- Using season extension tools such as indoor facilities and high tunnels.
- The keeping of bees and beehives in urban settings providing that best management practices are followed.
- Urban agriculture sites gaining access to agricultural markets.
- Developing infrastructure to transport and store food for market.
- Providing job training and skills development to beginning farmers and garden managers.