Professor Civita began the session by offering a concise history of urban cultivation in the United States and an overview of various policy and planning tools that can be used to mindfully encourage cultivation of produce and humane, responsible husbandry of small livestock within city limits. Professor Civita the contextualized the current interest in entrepreneurial urban agriculture and distinguished it from historical community gardening initiatives. She encouraged local leaders to devise scale-appropriate, character-sensitive policies that enable long-term investment in diverse forms of urban food production. She also emphasized the importance of auditing a region’s food policies and assessing its food system before enacting new laws and allowing the policy development process to be guided by the needs of the community.
Nicole & Lauren were joined on the panel by Kami Pothukuchi, an Associate Professor of Urban Studies & Planning at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan and Gordon Smith, a councilman for the city of Asheville, North Carolina (where the conference was held), both of whom are visionary advocates for urban agriculture. Professor Pothukuchi & Councilman Smith offered concrete examples of how urban agriculture has been boldly supported at the municipal level in Detroit and Asheville. Professor Civita added another real-world perspective by speaking about her work on the City of Fayetteville’s newly enacted urban agriculture ordinance.
This CLE program offered tips on how to help urban farmers secure access to growing spaces, how to facilitate in-neighborhood marketing of city-raised food products, how keep manage chickens and goats in a metropolis, and how to regulate urban beekeeping. The organizer and moderator of the panel, Sorell Negro, reports that the presentations generated significant buzz among the attendees at the section meeting several of whom have indicated that they will be applying some of the strategies suggested in their own communities.
The positive feedback on this CLE program demonstrates that there is a wide audience for the forthcoming ABA-published book on Urban Agricultural law that features the chapters written not only by Lauren and Nicole, but by several other graduates and faculty of our LL.M. program, including Jason Foscolo, Andy Frame, Sara Albert, Lauren Bernadett and Susan Schneider.