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Urban Food Policy Forum: Beyond the Kale: Urban Agriculture and Social Justice Activism in New York City

 Part of our Urban Food Policy Forum series.

Urban agriculture is increasingly considered an important part of creating just and sustainable cities. Yet the benefits that many people attribute to urban agriculture—fresh food, green space, educational opportunities—can mask structural inequities, thereby making political transformation harder to achieve. Realizing social and environmental justice requires moving beyond food production to address deeper issues such as structural racism, gender inequity, and economic disparities.

In their new book, Beyond the Kale: Urban Agriculture and Social Justice Activism in New York City, CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute Research Director Nevin Cohen and Professor of Environmental Studies and Food Studies at the New School Kristin Reynolds illustrate how some urban farmers and gardeners not only grow healthy food for their communities but also use their activities and spaces to disrupt the dynamics of power and privilege that perpetuate inequity. Beyond the Kale argues that urban agricultural projects focused explicitly on dismantling oppressive systems have the greatest potential to achieve substantive social change.

From left: Kristin Reynolds and Nevin Cohen present on October 19, 2016 at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy

From left: Kristin Reynolds and Nevin Cohen present on October 19, 2016 at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy

Co-founders of the Brooklyn Rescue Mission Rev. Robert Ennis Jackson and Rev. DeVanie Jackson engage in discussion with attendees of the forum on October 19, 2016.

Co-founders of the Brooklyn Rescue Mission Rev. Robert Ennis Jackson and Rev. DeVanie Jackson engage in discussion with attendees of the forum on October 19, 2016.

Resources

In case you missed it, watch the presentation.

Download the presentation.

Policy brief: Cohen N. New Directions for Urban Agriculture in New York City.

Reynolds K, Cohen N. Beyond the kale: Urban agriculture and social justice activism in NYC. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press; in press. See beyondthekale.org.