University of Maryland Extension

From Surviving to Thriving: Strategies for Urban Farm Success

Back cover

Urban Ag home | Table of contents Does any of this sound familiar? It’s been raining for weeks, the weeds are strangling your crops, it seems like there are fewer customers at the farmers market every week, your landlord just called to say your rent is going up, your summer helpers decided they...

Additional resources and literature cited

Urban Ag home | Table of contents Physical health and safety | Laws about workplace safety on the farm | Mental health and stress management | Health insurance | Employees and volunteers | Customers, protecting their safety and your liability | Neighbor relations and community engagement | Hunger...

Summary

Urban Ag home | Table of contents Managing the human part of a farm is likely to be the most complex part of a farmer’s work, and is likely to require skills outside the prior experience of many farmers. Plan how to minimize physical health and safety risks, including equipment-related injuries,...

Transition planning

Urban Ag home | Table of contents Transition planning, also called succession planning or estate planning, means having proactive conversations about whether and how your farm has a future beyond you. For a community urban farm , transition planning might include working to improve the common...

Community engagement, if you want to do something about food deserts

Urban Ag home | Table of contents Many people get into urban agriculture because they have a deep desire to solve problems they see in the world, particularly the paradox of hunger in the midst of plenty. Different people call this problem by different names: “food deserts,” “healthy food priority...

Neighbor relations, because you can’t not

Urban Ag home | Table of contents Whether for-profit or not-for-profit, outdoors on a vacant lot or indoors using artificial lights, an urban farm by definition is surrounded by neighbors. Having a good relationship with those neighbors can at minimum prevent nuisance complaints, and in worst case...

Neighbors and community engagement

Urban Ag home | Table of contents Community engagement is particularly important for urban farms, because urban farms have more neighbors in closer proximity than rural farms, and because community benefit is central to the mission of many urban farms. Previous page: Customers, protecting their...

Customers, protecting their safety and your liability

Urban Ag home | Table of contents Figure 3: Urban agriculture businesses where customers come onto the property, such as garden centers, farm stands, and agritourism operations, should consider purchasing premise liability insurance. Photo by Neith Little, UMD Extension, taken at Walther Gardens,...

Hiring and retention

Urban Ag home | Table of contents Every urban farm or garden depends on a handful of committed people fighting for its continued existence. Unfortunately, garden manager positions are usually unpaid and paid urban agriculture positions are often funded by temporary grants. This leads to burnout and...

Employees and volunteers

Urban Ag home | Table of contents A farmer has certain responsibilities towards anyone working on their farm, which are legally defined by local, state, and federal labor laws. It is important to understand that there are important legal differences between employees and volunteers. Additionally,...

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