This article provides context for the various roles that law plays in the cultivation of urban agriculture. This article first reflects on how popular support for the development of a legal framework that promotes urban agriculture is rooted deeply in American agrarian traditions. The article then notes the palatable tension between the rhetoric in support of urban agriculture and the modes of urban law and planning that dominated the twentieth century. It considers how various approaches to urban planning have facilitated or thwarted urban agriculture and surveys recent legal developments designed to accommodate and encourage urban agriculture projects as alternatives to conventional industrial agriculture. Next, the article argues that, notwithstanding the growing enthusiasm for urban agriculture, serious equity and ecological concerns lie within the forms of modern urban agriculture and that careful strategic planning should align the implementation of the legal tools available not only with the traditional values of agrarianism, but also with addressing these and other concerns. This article concludes by recommending key considerations for use of legal tools in moving forward to develop urban agriculture that, if implemented, will improve food systems in general.
Margot Pollans & Michael Roberts, Setting the Table for Urban Agriculture, 46 Urb. Law. 199 (2014), http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/lawfaculty/1052/.