NCAT ATTRALocal food was once considered to be in the purview of consumers and small-scale producers. Recently, policymakers, including those residing in cities, began embracing local food systems as a solution to a myriad of urban problems, including lack of green space and a dearth of healthy food availability. As part of this shift in policy, cities and other jurisdictions have embraced production in the urban environment.

But at the local and state levels, such policies are often based on a vision of how food might be grown in a city, and do not consider the feasibility or viability of such ventures. Nor do the policies consider how much of a contribution urban farms might make to urban food supplies.

The question of how much food urban farms can supply is critical, given the small amount of land devoted to farming in urban areas. A further complicating factor is that many urban farms have claimed nonprofit status and often act as more as educational facilities rather than as commercial farms.

A free April 29 webinar, “Urban Farms: Commercial Farms or Socially Minded Operations?” will provides an analysis of the differences between nonprofit and commercial urban farms, and it is based on research conducted by researchers at NYU, Penn State, and NCAT-ATTRA. Funding for this study was provided by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

The webinar will begin at 1 p.m. EDT. To register, go online at

The webinar presenters will be Carolyn Dimitri, Associate Professor of Food Studies at NYU Steinhardt; and Andy Pressman, National Center for Appropriate Technology Sustainable Agriculture Specialist.

The webinar will be recorded and archived on the ATTRA website at

About the Presenters

Carolyn Dimitri is an applied economist who studies food systems and food policy. She is recognized as the leading expert in the procurement and marketing of organic food, and has published extensively on the distribution, processing, retailing, and consumption of organic food. Carolyn’s research spans the wide range of work on different aspects of the food system. She is currently studying urban agriculture in 15 cities around the country; food access in the urban setting; and the political economies of the national organic regulation. Carolyn has received grants from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, National Research Initiative, and Risk Management Agency, and Northeast Center for Risk Management Education. For more than a decade, she worked as a research economist at the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She is currently an Associate Editor of the journal Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, and is a member of the scientific board of the Organic Center. She earned a PhD in Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Andy Pressman is a Sustainable Agriculture Specialist with NCAT and its ATTRA Program. Andy works with farmers and educators in the fields of organic crop production, season extension, local food systems, urban agriculture, and farm energy. Andy has a MS degree in Sustainable Systems/Agroecology from Slippery Rock University and has a background in intensive farming systems.  Prior to joining NCAT in 2007, he spent several years managing small diversified farms located in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions.  Andy and his family currently operate Foggy Hill Farm, a small diversified family farm located in Jaffrey, New Hampshire.

Since 1976, the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) has been helping people by championing small-scale, local and sustainable solutions to reduce poverty, promote healthy communities and protect natural resources. In partnership with businesses, organizations, individuals and agricultural producers, NCAT is working to advance solutions that will ensure the next generation inherits a world that has clean air and water, energy production that is efficient and renewable, and healthy foods grown with sustainable practices. More information about its programs and services is available at or by calling 1-800-ASK-NCAT.

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