Can students inform NYC's urban agriculture policies?


As part of their Capstone project, a team of students at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) prepared 10 policy recommendations for better food cultivation in New York City—and government officials took notice.

New York City Council member Rafael L. Espinal announced in August 2018 that he plans to introduce a legislative package to bolster urban agriculture across the city, informed in part by the students’ research.

“Whether through zoning laws or bureaucratic hoops, or lack of investment and incentives, or the practice of taking away community garden licenses, we’re not doing enough to support these spaces that do so much for our ecosystem,” said Espinal.

The students—Dafna Bareket, Caitlin Marie Boas, Joseph DeMarco, Rebecca Hopkins, Devika Kaul, James Lin, Philip Malley, Julie Manoharan, Alexander Rudnicki, Daniel Wohl, and Ella Wynn, all MPA-ESP ’18—took a holistic approach to urban agriculture by conducting interviews, site visits, and data analysis in their report, “Rooted in Resilience.”

“From zoning to water and resources management to supply chain to economic development to environmental and community justice to nutrition, education, and job readiness, the team revealed the challenges and the solutions that urban agriculture offers,” said Nancy Degnan MPA ’01 PhD ’01GSAS, a SIPA adjunct professor and the students’ Capstone adviser. Learn more.

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