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Issue Position: Urban Agriculture Initiative

Issue Position

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Urban agriculture is defined as the growing of plants and the raising of animals within and around cities.

Benefits of urban agriculture:

1. It meets the food needs of the urban poor while helping economically by lowering food costs which often account for over 50 percent of living expenses.
2. It contributes to food safety/security and healthy nutrition.
3. It is integrated into the urban economic and ecological system.
4. It can contribute to poverty alleviation and social integration
5. It leads to a significant increase in agriculture literacy.

Types of products grown:

* Food products -- vegetables, fruits, grains, poultry, rabbits and goats
* Non-food products -- herbs, ornamental plants and tree products

THE PLAN
The Comer administration will reorganize the entire Kentucky Department of Agriculture to streamline the agency, make it more efficient, and position the KDA to meet the needs of Kentucky Agriculture for the new agriculture economy of the future. One change will be to create the Office of Urban Agriculture. The new office will place a priority on enacting the Comer Urban Agriculture Initiative.

Initially the Comer Urban Agriculture Initiative in the soon-to-be Office of Urban Agriculture will:

* begin with a pilot project in Louisville and Lexington
* work to form a partnership with local government leaders, charitable organizations, faith-based groups, various agriculture commodity groups, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, Farm Bureau, Community Farm Alliance, local school districts, and the state land-grand institutions (the University of Kentucky and Kentucky State University) and the Cooperative Extension Agency. The partnership will be administered through the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.
* start community gardens in impoverished neighborhoods on abandoned property, privately owned permissible property, church property, government-owned land and park areas
* construct greenhouses which will be used to produce agricultural products for personal consumption or private sale
* utilize rooftop and balcony gardening


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