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Environmental and Urban Studies Program and Dean of the College present

Pavement to Paradox:
Can Urban Agriculture Help Solve Environmental and Urban Social Challenges?

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Kristin Reynolds, Ph.D.
EUS Candidate for Assistant Professor,
Tenure Track Position

Urban agriculture is often described as the growing of plants and livestock in and around cities. These activities, which may range from backyard and community gardens to commercial small-scale livestock husbandry, bring many benefits to city residents and the environment, and are increasingly looked to as a way to address the multiple needs of urban communities and municipalities. However, even as interest in urban agriculture, and its attendant benefits, expands to the point of being considered a social movement, there are increasing signs that social inequities may be reproduced within an urban agriculture system. And, there has been less research on the actual environmental impacts that city farming and gardening may produce. More information about these issues may elucidate ways in which city planning might consider urban agriculture as one strategy to address evolving social and environmental challenges.

This talk explores the benefits of urban agriculture, and some of the paradoxes that have often been overlooked in scholarly literature. It draws from two recent studies of urban agriculture systems, (in New York City and the San Francisco Bay area), to illustrate some of the common benefits and goals of city farmers and gardeners, and to pose questions that challenge the assumption that urban agriculture, as practiced, is a solution to more fundamental issues.

Kristin Reynolds is currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Sustainable Food Systems at The New School in New York City, where she has taught courses about urban agriculture, women and agroecosystems, and action research. Many of her courses integrate civic engagement projects co-designed with community partners, and she has worked on urban and rural farms in the U.S. and abroad. Dr. Reynolds also worked for five years with the University of California Small Farm Program, a statewide Cooperative Extension program for small-scale farmers, through which she conducted research and education about agricultural tourism and farm management for women and socially-disadvantaged farmers.

Dr. Reynolds’ current research focuses on urban agriculture and social justice in New York City, and the intersections between alternative food and food justice movements, and action research frameworks. She holds a PhD in Geography and a Masters in International Agricultural Development from the University of California, Davis; a BS in International Soil and Crop Sciences and a BA in French from Colorado State University.

For more information, call 845-758-7243, or e-mail feder@bard.edu.

Location: RKC 103