Farming the City: Global Perspectives on Urban Agriculture & Food Security
(SPEA E100/V100 Spring 2011)
Feeding the world’s ever-increasing urban populations presents both significant challenges and surprising opportunities. As cities continue to grow, millions of individuals, families, organizations, and governments are turning to forms of urban agriculture to help meet their food security needs. Urban agriculture practices involve the growing, processing, and distribution of food and other products through intensive plant cultivation and animal husbandry in and around cities. From Cuba to Cambodia, from Toronto to Tanzania, well-established forms of urban agriculture now thrive alongside with a range of experimental projects and food security initiatives.
Farming the City examines how urban agriculture can help provide cities with consistent access to a variety of nutritious food sources. The course begins by examining definitions and conceptions of farming from a range of local and global perspectives. Next, students explore case studies that focus on the major benefits and possible risks associated with urban agriculture techniques. Additional cross-cultural comparison is then provided in a second set of case studies from the required textbooks. The course concludes with an examination of major components of the growing urban agriculture movement in the United States with a special emphasis on activities underway in Bloomington and the Midwest. Students will write a final paper that makes cross-cultural or regional linkages between specific urban agriculture techniques that have been presented in the course.
Dr. Galuska is an anthropologist, folklorist, and ethnomusicologist. He has directed the Foster International Living-Learning Center on the IUB campus since 2004, www.fin.indiana.edu. His research has focused on Caribbean verbal and musical traditions as well as ecotourism and sustainable agriculture practices. He has taken five groups of IU students to Jamaica as part of an interdisciplinary service-learning course he teaches with a biologist called “Roots, Fruits & Jamaican Ecologies.” He is involved with a variety sustainability projects on campus and local food initiatives through his work as a board member of the Local Growers Guild. Dr. Galuska is also an urban farmer. His family grows fruits and vegetables and raises American Chinchilla rabbits and heritage breed chickens at their 1-acre urban homestead. In addition to urban farming and gardening, he enjoys trail running, hiking, and performance poetry.