CIVIQ: Urban Agriculture + Local Food System Planning in Chattanooga

The most recent CIVIQ lecture series took place at Crabtree Farms | Photo via NOOGAtoday

Each day, we ask you to “join the conversation” — whether it be about the city’s new greenway, development updates, or snow predictions

Last week’s CIVIQ Lecture Series, put on by the Chattanooga Design Studio, started a conversation on urban agriculture + local food system planning in Chattanooga — and we’re bringing the conversation to you all, so that you can join in.

🥕 Why does agriculture + food matter?

Urban agriculturethe practice of cultivating, processing, or distributing food in urban areas — and food system planning the process of improving a community’s food system — can:

  • Promote physical + mental health
  • Promote the vitality, resiliency, and equity of cities
  • Provide entrepreneurial opportunities
  • Allow communities to come together for a shared purpose + participate in mutual aid

🍎 What’s worked in Georgia

  • Local food baseline report | A report that dives into the challenges + opportunities within the city surrounding urban agriculture and local food system planning.
  • City Agriculture Plan | A city plan that you would have for any other civic issue — urban design, transportation, etc. — focused on urban agriculture + local food. A city plan like this was piloted in East Point, GA, and incorporated into their 10-year plan.
  • Community input | Relationship building, working with community-based organizations, ensuring that the approach for each community is tailored + individualized.

🥬 Happening locally

  • The Chattanooga Mobile Market runs in 12 neighborhoods, providing community members with a full + affordable grocery store on wheels, with plans to add 3 more.
  • Patten Towers has a health corner store, with plans to add 2 more in low-income neighborhoods.
  • Crabtree Farms is intentionally working to engage with its neighbors through efforts like improving signage + community potlucks. The farm is also finalizing an action plan to explore the role of local food in economic growth + neighborhood revitalization.
  • The BLVD Project is hiring a community advocate to explore ways to leverage food as a catalyst for economic + community development on the Rossville Boulevard Corridor.

🍓 Call to action

“How do we form some kind of system so that we can work together and drive systemic change in our community? My hope is that we can continue these conversations…”Melonie Lusk, Executive Director of Crabtree Farms