This research examines the organizational factors that impact the success of urban farms in Cleveland, Ohio. In Cleveland there are tons of vacant lots, dozens of farmers markets, and a strong local food scene. Urban agriculture has the ability to provide a multitude of benefits to the producers, consumers, and local community members. Why then is it so difficult for some urban farmers to survive? I take a closer look at how the different actors and the organizational cultures they operate within influences how they view the benefits of urban agriculture and how they try to achieve them. I interviewed six people, all of whom worked on or closely with urban farms. I examined their stories through a theoretical framework developed by Michael Jamison. He concluded that different organizations understood the benefits and functions of community gardens differently because they had conflicting organizational cultures. What I found was that not all urban farmers view the benefits the same way. Some did not think that urban agriculture even had any substantial benefits to offer to the surrounding community. Additionally, my data showed that there is an element in current urban agriculture that was not in Jamison’s research on community gardens. Contemporary urban agriculture is more involved with the market than is used to be. Due to this different organizational context, there have emerged a number of different ways that urban farms try to achieve the benefits of urban agriculture as they define them.


Mariola, Matthew


Sociology and Anthropology


Agricultural and Resource Economics | Civic and Community Engagement | Environmental Policy | Human Geography | Place and Environment | Social Influence and Political Communication | Social Welfare | Urban Studies


urban agriculture, food desert, community development

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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