We need to expand urban agriculture in Minneapolis to end food deserts and grow affordable, nutritious food right here in our city. As a Council Member, I authored initiatives to promote urban agriculture for community gardens and market farms as well as fighting for longer lease terms, a major barrier for urban farmers.
Urban agriculture not only reduces poverty and food insecurity, it also enhances urban environmental management. People living in Minneapolis' poorest neighborhoods don't always have access to affordable and nutritious food like fresh fruits and vegetables. The foods that are accessible and affordable are often high calorie, low nutrition foods. Promoting urban agriculture contributes to local economic development and food security, while also providing a big opportunity for community building around community-based gardens.
In partnership with the Homegrown Minneapolis Food Council, we have improved Minneapolis' urban agriculture policies, but there is still much work to be done. Privately-owned, vacant lots are a potential source of new space for community gardens. With the right incentives, private vacant landowners could be valuable partners in our mission to develop a sustainable and resilient city that is socially-inclusive and food-secure, with a healthy environment for all.