Urban Agriculture: Offering hope and health through horticulture

Session Convenors
Rebecca St. Clair (r.st.clair@mmu.ac.uk)
Dr Mike Hardman (m.hardman@salford.ac.uk)

The potential benefits of Urban Agriculture (UA) and in particular the relationship between food cultivation and health are gaining recognition across academia and policy (Horst, McClintock, & Hoey, 2017; Howe, Viljoen, & Bohn, 2005; Mulligan, Archbold, Baker, Elton, & Cole, 2018). In the UK, Social Prescribing (SP), a process that links patients to “nonmedical sources of support in the community and voluntary sector” (Pilkington, Loef, & Polley, 2017), is one mechanism by which the therapeutic benefits of UA are formally integrated into care. SP is currently experiencing a resurgence, with SP activities such as UA offering the potential to release capacity in general practice, implying cost savings for the NHS (NHS England, n.d.).

This session seeks to explore urban agriculture and its associated health benefits along with examples of facilitating frameworks (e.g. SP) in different geographical regions. We would particularly welcome presentations on the following areas:

  • The use of food-growing activities for health and any wider impacts (e.g. dietary changes leading to more pro-environmental behaviours)
  • Examples of different frameworks for the provision of UA for health
  • Health and urban food growing in contrasting geographical regions
  • Critical geographies reflecting upon the process of formalising/institutionalising links between health and urban agriculture – does the provision of care via voluntary/non-governmental organisations represent a shift in the responsibility of the state vs the citizen?
  • The role of volunteering and communities in the provision of healthcare through UA
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