Publication Date

Summer 2017

Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Dr. Rachel Slocum

Abstract

Cities across the United States have started to adopt urban agriculture zoning ordinances which provide access to land and encourage food production in low-income black and brown communities. However, many cities fail to use an anti-racist lens in the creation and implementation of these policies. According to scholars and activists, anti-racist practices in urban agriculture zoning require that first, community organizations and policy makers co-create policy with black and brown communities and second, develop secure land tenure arrangements for urban agriculture. In this case study of the development of an urban agriculture zoning ordinance by the Bridgeport Connecticut Food Policy Council, I argue that neither of these two conditions have been met. Marginalized low-income black and brown community members who live within Bridgeport should lead in decision making, yet they are only minimally involved. Furthermore, anti-racist practice requires that food justice organizations understand and address the racial history of a place; however, I have found that most are largely ignorant of this history. The city of Bridgeport has a legacy of using policies, such as redlining, to create an unequal division of wealth and access to resources including land. A secure form of land tenure would need to acknowledge this legacy, address the high cost of urban land, and remove land from the speculative market. This paper will argue that the Bridgeport Food Policy Council must promote equitable access to land for food production by developing a community land trust that is owned by marginalized nonwhite communities and protects public land from development. Without attention to these two key elements, this ordinance will not address the hardships many black and brown people experience when attempting to obtain access to land for food cultivation.

Disciplines

Civic and Community Engagement | Food Studies | Politics and Social Change | Race and Ethnicity | Urban Studies and Planning

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