Urban farmers grow, process, and distribute food in or around a city, allowing its residents easy access to fresh, seasonal produce. Some farmers raise animals, such as chickens or fish. Often found on rooftops, patios, formerly vacant lots, and even indoors, urban farms can play a crucial role in improving food access and food security in underserved neighborhoods with few grocery stores. Farms also add greenery to stark cityscapes; reduce harmful runoff; and help counteract “urban heat islands” — metropolitan areas that, due to human activity, are significantly warmer than nearby rural communities. Community farms can provide income and build job skills for disadvantaged, at-risk youth.
An urban farmer’s day usually begins early in the morning and could include feeding animals, delivering food to restaurants and caterers, selling food at farmers’ markets, bookkeeping, marketing to potential clients — and of course, watering seedlings, fertilizing, weeding, planting, and harvesting. Some urban farmers are involved in local food justice advocacy and policy, which might involve planning and participating in meetings.
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