By Mike Pace, Groundwork Studio

Sustainable agriculture in urban environments is an emerging  theme when considering growth, urbanization and land-use patterns in Southwestern cities. Although Bernalillo County celebrates the Río Grande Bosque and has a re-emergent agricultural economy in Albuquerque’s South Valley that harkens back to the valley’s agricultural heritage, urban agricultural applications are less common across the rest of the city. Bernalillo County is leading a new effort to support and increase a range of urban agricultural activities within Albuquerque’s International District (ID). The county’s acquisition of an urban site, namely the Stark Open Space, launched the plan, and through it the county is leading the effort to keep it green. In contrast to large-scale agriculture, urban agriculture consists of a wide range of scales and types of practices intended to provide one or more of the following benefits:

  • food production, processing and/or distribution
  • herbal/medicinal production
  • therapy
  • community building
  • urban wildlife habitat enhancement
  • demonstration/education
  • community health/nutrition
  • cultural enrichment
  • local economic development

“Urban agriculture for me means connecting people to each other and to space to ‘ground’ our community. Much of our neighborhood is barbed wire and asphalt, and urban agriculture brings some humanity to our community and connects people. It’s incredibly important in the International District.” —John Bulten

Read more in the Green Fire Times September / October 2019 edition (page 26)