This research explores the impact of urban agriculture on residents of the Dudley neighborhood of Boston, MA. In recent years, blighted urban communities in the United States have placed an increased emphasis on the inclusion of urban agriculture projects in their redevelopment process. Yet, what benefits do urban agriculture projects bring to these transforming neighborhoods, and what are unanticipated tensions that stem from their presence? I researched these questions through ten weeks of participant observation and 17 interviews with residents of Dudley and employees and youth affiliated with The Food Project, a local urban agriculture organization located in the community. I discovered that while increased food access and personal development were among the most significant benefits of urban agriculture’s presence in Dudley, The Food Project’s reliance on enterprise farming and outside donors runs at odds with their mission to promote holistic youth and community development through food. This research draws on the theoretical frameworks of environmental justice and urban political ecology, as well as literature on past revitalization and urban agriculture projects within American cities. I conclude by noting that urban agriculture’s presence in Dudley occupies a very complicated role in the neighborhood and that The Food Project may need to redefine their mission to work effectively in the community.


Mariola, Matthew


Sociology and Anthropology


Social and Cultural Anthropology | Sustainability


Urban Agriculture, Community Development, Neighborhood Revitalization

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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