The prominence of urban agriculture within the United States has increased due to an effort to alleviate food insecurity in American cities. For many scholars, urban agriculture is viewed as a radical method to increase food security while simultaneously fostering community, increasing nutritional education, and promoting entrepreneurship. Yet, others suggest that organizations which grow food in the city are highly influenced by market forces. This creates a tension between social responsibility and capitalist goals. In this study, I analyze this phenomenon in Cleveland, Ohio and Detroit, Michigan. First, I provide a review of literature which discusses works that both problematize and radicalize urban agriculture. Then, I introduce four theoretical perspectives which help form the conversation about urban farms and the market: neoliberalism, social embeddedness, social capital and instrumentalism. Finally, using personal data primarily from semi-structured interviews with individuals who are affiliated with the urban agricultural sector in Cleveland and Detroit, I investigate the question: how does the tension between market priorities and social goals manifest at urban agricultural organizations?


Mariola, Matt


Sociology and Anthropology


Food Security | Food Studies | Urban Studies and Planning


food access, urban agriculture

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2017 Grace Gamble