Is Urban Agriculture Financially Sustainable? An Exploratory Study of Small-Scale Market Farming in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • Christian Hunold Drexel University
  • Yetunde Sorunmu Drexel University
  • Rachel Lindy Drexel University
  • Sabrina Spatari Drexel University
  • Patrick L. Gurian Drexel University
Keywords: Urban Agriculture, City Farming, Market Farming, Entrepreneurial Urban Agriculture, Profitability of Urban Agriculture

Abstract

Existing research on the economic sustainability of urban agriculture in the United States tends to emphasize a multifaceted conception of urban agriculture’s return on investment as a combination of revenue and less quantifiable positive external­ities. A more business-oriented advocacy literature, however, sees urban agriculture as a way to generate income for farmers and farm workers. The purpose of this study is twofold. First, we estimate the economic returns of urban farming in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, based on data obtained from urban farmers involved in market farming. Here our goal is to better understand the contribu­tion of market farming to the economic viability of urban agriculture. Second, we hope to improve understanding of how the farmers themselves perceive and navigate commensurabilities and tensions between predominantly market-oriented and more heavily social-service oriented forms of urban agriculture. Home to more than a dozen farms, Philadelphia is a suitable location for such an exploratory study of the financial sustainability of urban agriculture.

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Author Biographies

Christian Hunold, Drexel University
Department of Politics, 3025 MacAlister Hall, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104
Yetunde Sorunmu, Drexel University
Department of Politics, Drexel University
Rachel Lindy, Drexel University
Department of Politics, Drexel University
Sabrina Spatari, Drexel University
Department of Politics, Drexel University
Patrick L. Gurian, Drexel University
Department of Politics, Drexel University
Published
2017-03-22
How to Cite
Hunold, C., Sorunmu, Y., Lindy, R., Spatari, S., & Gurian, P. L. (2017). Is Urban Agriculture Financially Sustainable? An Exploratory Study of Small-Scale Market Farming in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 7(2), 51-67. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2017.072.012