Urban farmers need community partners to be successful. The most important community partners are landowners with small urban lots they would be willing to let young farmers use over the long term (leasing is affordable when ownership is not).
What are community partners looking for to make their support of urban farmers successful? Great studies from BC have some answers to this question.
The 2013 Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) study on Surrey, in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia (BC), Canada, had a workshop attended by 6 landowners interested in leasing their land to small urban farmers. They had definite ideas about their concerns and what they would need.
Here is my summary of their comments in order of priority:
some one to contact who would oversee things and act as an intermediary;
clear statement from the municipality of a hands off approach without a lot of rules and paperwork and restrictions;
a good source of technical information on urban farming practices;
a way to deal with increased traffic and the need for parking and increased people;
That is a good list of concerns but not impossible to provide. Landowners are not the only kind of community partners but they may be one of the most critical. The young agrarians organization is doing a good job of matching landowners with young farmers to create mutually beneficial relationships.
Schools, Restaurants, Government agencies, Individuals could all be community partners, as well. All have an interest in a reliable source of nutrient dense food that is not based in a far off land. What are the economic advantages of more and more community partners stepping forward to help young urban farmers?
All over the world there are great examples of consumers and farmers and community partners working together to build up food security in their region. Can something like that happen where you live? Anyone interested in being a community partner to a young urban farmer?