Published by City Farmer, Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture


Urban Agriculture -- Is It For Real?

A conference that looks at Entrepreneurial Urban Agriculture in North America: what do the studies say, who's doing it, and who's actually making money at it? Where do the opportunities lie, what are the obstacles, and what really makes it work?

Monday, March 6th, 2000
8:30 AM to 9 PM

At the Philadelphia Flower Show
Pennsylvania Convention Center, Room 109
12th & Arch Streets, Philadelphia, PA
Cost: $125

About the Conference
This one-day conference will highlight professional research on urban agricultural businesses, (both for-profit and non-profit,) throughout America, and present findings about the feasibility and critical concerns of these ventures. The conference will also explore the potential of urban agriculture for business leaders, city planners, government agencies, farmers and foundations.

Presenters will include urban agricultural business managers, researchers, planners, and buyers. We are planning this event as a catalyst, a place where combined energy generates enough of a spark to kindle a large-scale conference in 2001.

We must limit attendance to 100 participants, so register early.

This event is sponsored by:
Philadelphia Green Program of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
The Urban Agriculture Network (TUAN)
The Toronto Food Policy Council
Farmers' Market Trust
American Community Gardening Association
Village Farms
Clyde's Restaurants

Who Should Attend
Individuals and institutions interested in urban agriculture: growers, government officials, urban land trusts, planning associations, sustainable food networks, food policy councils, academic departments, Extension agents, chefs & chefs' coalitions, farmers' markets, innovative food retailers and master gardeners.

The Speakers
Jac Smit, The Urban Agriculture Network, Washington DC
Michael Olsen, Metrofarm, Santa Cruz
Michael Minerva, Village Farms, Buffalo
Stewart Levy, Buffalo Economic Renaissance Corporation
Jim Hanson, University of Maryland, College of Agriculture
Mary Seton, GreensGrow, Philadelphia
Lauren Baker, Annex Organics, Toronto
John Guattery, Corporate Chef, Clydes, Washington, DC
Chefs' Collaborative 2000
Phil Gottwals, Agricultural Development Associates, Columbia, MD
Blaine Bonham, Executive Vice President, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
Hope Wohl, Hope Wohl Associates
Martin Bailkey, Univ. of Wisconsin Š Madison
Pablo Torres-Lima, Mexico City
Sean Cosgrove, Toronto Food Policy Council

Keynote Speaker--Jac Smit, The Urban Agriculture Network (TUAN)
As a city and regional planner, Jac Smit sees urban agriculture not only as a vehicle for economic development but also as an important means of conserving natural resources. Interested in agriculture as a youth, he tried landscaping as a career. Then he became a city planner. In regional planning he was able to address the broad range of social, economic and environmental problems facing cities. Frustrated with the lack of interest in urban agriculture in the U.S., he took his expertise overseas and worked for the United Nations, Ford Foundation and national governments. He visited 30 countries and co-authored with Joe Nasr and Annu Ratta the UN Development ProgramÕs best-selling publication Urban Agriculture: Food, Jobs and Sustainable Cities (1996 first edition now out of print; second edition available in September 2000).

Smit firmly believes that independent, for-profit urban agriculture ventures are essential to community food security, improved nutrition and natural resource conservation. "An enterprise has to be economically viable to deliver benefits to the maximum number of people. Urban agriculture businesses may not be as lucrative as fast-food restaurants, but they will pay living wages and return a profit to investors, as well as provide more nutritious food locally, employ people in the community, and put abandoned land to productive use."

7:30 - 8:30 AM Registration & Coffee

8:30-9:30 AM Welcome,
Blaine Bonham, Philadelphia Green program of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society;
Sean Cosgrove, Toronto Food Policy Council
Keynote address
Urban Agriculture in North America: Why Here and Why Now?
Jac Smit, The Urban Agriculture Network, Washington DC

9:30- 10:30 Research
Does city farming really offer new opportunities for inner cities in North America? Current independent research, rather than the formerly used anecdotal evidence, provides a systematic, objective look at both the breadth of entrepreneurial urban agriculture and the obstacles that successful ventures must overcome. This panel represents recent studies: a business-oriented perspective using case studies and simulated operating models, a community development corporation's grassroots activity, and urban agriculture in Mexico City.
Hope Wohl, Hope Wohl Associates, Philadelphia
Martin Bailkey, Univ. of Wisconsin Š Madison
Dr. Pablo Torres Lima, Mexico City
Commentary: Jim Hanson, University of Maryland, College of Agriculture

10:30-10:45 Break

10:45-1:00 Growers
Speakers will describe the challenges in establishing urban agriculture businesses, which include a 20 acre hydroponic tomato greenhouse, a 3/4 acre farm initially focused on hydroponic lettuce and now branched out to a range of vegetables, herbs and flowers, and a rooftop farm growing organic tomatoes and other vegetables. These speakers have been part of the growing process from conceptualization to realization. They will speak to the wide range of opportunities and struggles that urban growers and businesses face. Financing, technology, management, staff, community interaction and marketing will also be discussed.
Michael Minerva, Village Farms, Buffalo
Stewart Levy, Buffalo Economic Renaissance Corporation
Mary Seton, GreensGrow, Philadelphia
Lauren Baker, Annex Organics, Toronto
Commentary: Michael Olson, Metrofarm, Santa Cruz

1:00-2:15 Lunch

2:15 - 3:30 Buyers & Business Plans
New and alternative markets demand a break from standard food distribution methods; restaurants change when they rely more on local suppliers; business consultants help part-time farmers to redesign traditional agriculture, and teach ag economics to small businesses. One restaurant uses laptop computers to connect with their growers each morning; another designs meals around the whole lamb, not just the rack; local growers and buyers form a collaborative and publish a directory.
Representative of Chefs' Collaborative 2000
John Guattery, Corporate Chef, Clydes Restaurant, Wash, DC
Phil Gottwals, Agricultural & Community Development Associates
Commentary: Sean Cosgrove

3:30-3:45 Break

3:45 - 4:45 A Challenge to Urban Agriculture Town Meeting, Summary, Next steps

4:45 - 5:00 Farewell & Challenge: Jac Smit WHO WILL ORGANIZE THE CONFERENCE IN 2001?

5:00 - 9:30 Networking & Visiting the Philadelphia Flower Show!

Optional evening event
7:30-9:00 Lecture and booksigning at Philadelphia Flower Show
Up Against Goliath
Michael Olson, author, Metrofarm--The Guide to Growing for Big Profit on a Small Parcel of Land
How to compete against agricultural big business and win the consumer dollar. Includes ten strategies for increasing the productivity of a small business by 400-1400% over that achieved by the Goliaths of the field.

This lecture is part of the Philadelphia Flower Show Lecture Series. It is open to anyone attending the Flower Show; YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE PART OF THE CONFERENCE TO ATTEND THIS LECTURE.

For More Information
Sally McCabe, Philadelphia Green, at 215-988-8846, e-mail: or
Kim Dmytro, Philadelphia Green, at 215-988-8869 e-mail

Registration is limited to 100 participants. Registrations must be postmarked by Friday, February 29th.

Steering Committee
Blaine Bonham, Mike Groman, Eva Ray,
Philadelphia Green Program of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
Martin Bailkey, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Sean Cosgrove, Toronto Food Policy Council
Joseph Griffin, The Oley Institute
Duane Perry, Farmers' Market Trust
Jac Smit, The Urban Agriculture Network (TUAN)
Hope Wohl, Hope Wohl Associates
Sally McCabe, Conference Organizer, Philadelphia Green Program of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

For more information about Urban Agriculture & our speakers (partial list only):

City Farmer

Planning for Urban Agriculture: A Review of Tools and Strategies for Urban Planners

Cities Feeding People Program Reports Series

The Significance of Urban Agriculture Rachel A. Nugent, Ph.D. aft

Metrofarm; The Guide To Growing For Big Profit On A Small Parcel Of Land Michael Olson.

Annex Organics

Agricultural & Community Development Associates

Martin Bailkey at Toronto conference

For More Information
Sally McCabe, Philadelphia Green, at 215-988-8846, e-mail:

How To Get Here
By public transit
* SEPTA Regional Rail: From the Market East Station, follow the signs to the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
* SEPTA and NJ TRANSIT buses: Exit on Market St. between 11th and 12th and follow the signs to the Convention Center.
* PATCO High Speed Line: PATCO trains run 24 hours a day from New Jersey to Philadelphia. Exit at 8th Street and Market and walk west on Market St. and north to Arch St., or walk west through Market East and follow the signs to the Convention Center.
* AMTRAK riders: Connect to SEPTA Regional Rail at 30th St. Station and travel to Market East Station for no extra charge (show the conductor your AMTRAK ticket stub; save it for the return trip). Follow the signs to the Convention Center.

For Directions by Car,
(We HIGHLY RECOMMEND using public transportation) visit the Convention Center web page at or the Philadelphia Flower Show

There is a train direct from the airport to Center City, to the Market East Station. Follow signs for the Convention Center or Flower Show. The Greyhound bus terminal is also two blocks from the Convention Center.

Where to Stay<
Hotel rooms are at a premium in Philadelphia during Flower Show Week, so register early. When calling for reservations, mention that you are participating in the Philadelphia Flower Show, since many hotels have unadvertised special rates.

Nearby Hotels:
Holiday Inn Express Midtown 215-735-9300 fax 215-732-2682 1305 Walnut Street (4 blocks from Convention Center)

Marriott Downtown 800-320-5744 1201 Market Street (adjacent to the Convention Center)

Hawthorne Suites 215-829-8300 11th & Vine Streets (1 block from Convention Center)

Philadelphia Courtyard Downtown 215-887-8130 21 North Juniper Street (3 blocks from Convention Center)

DoubleTree 215-893-1600 fax 215-893-1664 Broad Street at Locust (6 blocks from Convention Center)

Embassy Suites Center City 215-561-1776 fax 215-983-0122 1776 Benjamin Franklin Parkway (7 blocks from Convention Center)

Korman Suites 215-569-7200 fax 215-569-7100 2001 Hamilton Street (about 15 blocks, but has complimentary parking and shuttle to Convention Center)

Urban Agriculture Registration Form

Please complete a separate registration form for each person who will be attending.

Name ______________________________________________________

Org Name __________________________________________________

Address _____________________________________________________


Phone ______________________(required for credit card orders)

Fax ________________________Email_________________________

Name to appear on Badge____________________________________________



TOTAL ____

*Conference Registration includes sessions, breaks, lunch and admission to the Philadelphia Flower Show.

Registration is limited to 100 people, and must be postmarked on or before Feb 29, 2000.

0Check enclosed. Please make checks payable to The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

0Charge my VISA/MC# (circle one)__________________________Exp Date________


You can fax credit card orders to 215-988-8810 attn. Kimberly Dmytro

Mail Completed Registration Form and payment to: Urban Agriculture Conference Philadelphia Green Pennsylvania Horticultural Society 100 N 20th Street 5th Floor Philadelphia, PA 19103

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Revised Tuesday, February 24, 2000

Published by City Farmer
Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture