Civic agriculture, according to Rose Hayden Smith, is:

the movement towards locally based agricultural models that tightly link community, social and economic development.  Models of civic agriculture include CSAs, farmer’s markets, roadside stands, urban agriculture, community gardens, and farm-to-school/farm-to-institution programs…..civic agriculture includes school and home gardens…any place where people seek to connect land to the development of community or as an expression of engagement or citizenship.

In short, civic agriculture promotes community engagement through gardening projects: school, community, and even home gardens; farmers’ markets; coops; and CSAs  build connections between people and places. The local food movement–when it avoids elitist excesses–creates community and bounty by directing attention to what is available in our neighborhoods; to each other; to the Black Oxford Apples that grow in Waldo County, Maine;  to the farming families that grow food that nourishes us and the environment; to the local knowledge these apples and these people cultivate.

Civic agriculture functions in the cracks in our broken, industrial food system; it opens these cracks; it uses them to put people in touch with their food, with each other, and with the earth. Find a local community garden or start one near you!

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