Creating a Legal Framework for Urban Agriculture: Lessons from Flint, Michigan


  • Megan Masson-Minock ENP & Associates
  • Deirdra Stockmann University of Michigan



Urban Agriculture, Community Food System Planning, Urban Planning, Zoning


Urban agriculture is not new to Flint, Michigan. Like most cities around the world, Flint has been home to back yard and small community gardens throughout its history. Today, over 150 churches, shelters, and neighborhood block clubs grow vegetables in the city. As the most recent wave of interest in urban agriculture swelled in Flint, how­ever, many enterprising gardeners encountered city ordinances that barred certain activities and failed to define land uses common for small-scale food production. As a result, advocates pressed the Flint Planning Commission to change codes in order to enable a wider range of agricultural activities within the city limits. This case study highlights how the legal framework in Flint discouraged efforts to expand the scope of community gardening and how local nongovernmental organizations inter­vened, opening a vibrant public dialogue about urban agriculture. We discuss the importance of public input and education in efforts to amend city policies to support a range of urban agricultural activities, outline the strategies used in Flint, and identify some of the challenges that arose in this process.


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Author Biographies

Megan Masson-Minock, ENP & Associates

Planner, ENP & Associates, P.O. Box 131095, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48113 USA

Deirdra Stockmann, University of Michigan

PhD Candidate, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Michigan, 2000 Bonisteel Boulevard, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 USA



How to Cite

Masson-Minock, M., & Stockmann, D. (2010). Creating a Legal Framework for Urban Agriculture: Lessons from Flint, Michigan. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 1(2), 91–104.



Urban Agriculture Call Papers