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young people eating meal outdoors

Millennials, or Gen Y, are moving into the city, and they want fresh, local and sustainably grown food.  This means urban agriculture is a growing trend.

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City dwellers (and the general population!) are becoming aware of the dangers of pesticides and GMOS. Today’s diners want sustainably grown, fresh, nutrient dense food. This is one of the food trends I wrote about earlier this year.

Urban areas also tend to be ‘food deserts’, meaning fresh food is not accessible. It needs to be trucked in from rural areas, increasing the cost and decreasing its nutrition.

Those are two of the reasons urban agriculture is on the rise.

Millennials and food

Millennials, or Gen Y, are a main driving economic force today. They are also called the Foodie Generation. They are fit and healthy, and their food choices at the supermarket and in restaurants reflect that. They want sustainably grown, fresh local food, because they know it’s better for them than conventionally grown food.

Millennials are also progressive. They are college educated, tech savvy and forward thinking. They have buying power, and they are new face of urban dwellers.

Life in cities includes agriculture

Cities are growing rapidly, and many of these new residents are Millennials. This article about Washington DC becoming a major urban food hub said 1000 young professionals are moving into the city each month. They are one more reason for the importance of widespread urban farming.

Aside from making fresh, healthy food available for all residents, DC realizes they need to take this new market into consideration. If Millennials can’t buy local food, why would they stay? Millennials and urban ag are good for the economy!

Urban planning, agriculture and millennials

DC is inviting experienced growers to plant city-owned vacant lots. There might be 25 of them at 2500 sq ft each. That is almost 1.5 acres, which can produce a lot of food for stores, restaurants, schools, hospitals and farmers markets.

Urban ag consists of community gardens, backyard gardens, rooftop farms, school gardens, and creatively developed infill. Hundreds of small lots can feed many people with vegetables, fruit, honey, meat, eggs and dairy. City planners and lawmakers would be smart to add agriculture to their master plans.

That old saying, ‘If you build it, they will come’ can apply here. If urban centers have local food, they will attract the big-spending, healthy Millennials.

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Nan Fischer

Nan Fischer has been living and building green for over 35 years. Nan’s emphasis on the BuildDirect blog is about how to make your dollar stretch further, while also moving toward a more sustainable lifestyle, as well as upcoming and existing technology to help us live in an ecologically-friendly way. Nan also authors posts on the website of her seed business, sweetly seeds.