A Story of Urban Farming and the Cultivation of Community and the Human Spirit


  • Matthew M. Mars The University of Arizona




Urban Agriculture, Workforce Development, Disenfranchised People, Hunger


First paragraph:

In the book Street Farm: Growing Food, Jobs, and Hope on the Urban Frontier, Michael Ableman tells the story of how an urban farm has transformed vacant lots in the Low Tracks neighborhood of Vancouver, British Columbia, into sites where food is produced, community is in part restored, and the human spirit is nurtured. Ableman’s storytelling is raw and transparent. Through this transparency, he reveals a tenuous balance between the promises of urban farming and the harsh realities of the addiction, hunger, homelessness, and violence that often characterize inner-city conditions. This balance illustrates how urban agriculture can help produce the food a city needs in a sustainable way and, perhaps more importantly, feed the souls of disenfranchised individuals and communities.


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Author Biography

Matthew M. Mars, The University of Arizona

Dr. Matthew M. Mars is an assistant professor of agricultural leadership and innovation in the Department of Agricultural Education at The University of Arizona. Dr. Mars teaches and studies entrepreneurial strategy in the context of agricultural innovation, community leadership, and social change. His current work largely centers on the diffusion of innovations across local and regional food systems and how such diffusion may or may not occur through the implementation of entrepreneurial leadership strategies.
Cover of "Street Farm"



How to Cite

Mars, M. M. (2016). A Story of Urban Farming and the Cultivation of Community and the Human Spirit. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 7(1), 135–136. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2016.071.004