COLUMBIA- The city of Columbia, Kansas City and St. Louis have received a $20,000 grant to help advance urban agriculture. The three cities were awarded the Innovation Fund grant by the Urban Sustainability Directors Network with the purpose to research urban agriculture and food production nationwide. Rural sociology professor and director of the Food Circles Networking Project, Dr. Mary Hendrickson, is in charge of leading the work associated with the grant. Hendrickson said the idea is to review different kinds of zoning policies and regulations across the country and compile the information in a searchable database.
"They all are interested in, "Well how have other cities handled this? What are some of the issues?" And because we do research on local food systems, they asked questions of us. And so we said, "Well let's do a scan of what's out there. What are some of the regulations, the best practices, the zoning issuses that have come up across the country?" We are going to try and collect all of that information in one place and put it together in a searchable database where these cities can use it." Hendrickson said.
Currently there isn't a country-wide database where people can go for information on urban agriculture.
The funding for the database that will be called the "Guide for Local Governments and Urban Agricultural Practitioners" runs through May 31, 2012, when the guide should be complete.