New York City Weighs Potential for Office of Urban Agriculture

The New York City Council is considering the creation of an Office of Urban Agriculture (OUA) to oversee the urban agriculture field. The OUA would create an Urban Agriculture Plan, coordinate with the city’s parks department to require the existing Green Thumb program to collect and maintain data about the community gardens throughout the city, oversee farming education for children and adults.

City Council Member Rafael Espinal and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson recently released a report –  Growing Food Equity in New York City – which outlines the problems of food insecurity in the city and proposes the creation of the OUA.

“Urban agriculture is the most underutilized tool we have to close the freshness gap in low-income communities. But momentum has been building, due in large part to the city’s existing infrastructure of community gardens, rooftop farms, and indoor hydroponic farming. Together, we have been building a movement that demands our right to eat, and to eat well,” said Espinal.

“New York City is one of the richest cities in the world. Yet more than one million of our residents are considered food insecure. That’s unacceptable. Food is a human right, which means as a city we need to establish food policies to help ensure that none of our residents are going hungry or relying on unhealthy foods to survive because they don’t have the means or access to nutritious meals. These proposals are my vision for food justice for New York City. I want to create a better New York where equitable food policies are front and center in everything we do,” said Johnson.