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 Urban Agriculture Education 
 & Civic Engagement 

Research and extension project

In New York City, many NGOs, farms, communities, and schools involve students in urban agriculture education. Among various goals, urban agriculture educators are helping youth become empowered, contributing, and civically engaged members of their communities. Students and community members learn to address food insecurity, social justice, and climate change.

In this project, Cornell University and NYC partners are exploring how urban agriculture education influences youth civic engagement and other important social outcomes. We also facilitate an exchange of civic engagement ideas among urban agriculture educators by sharing participatory research results, presenting webinars, and inviting NYC educators to conferences.

In New York City, we interviewed educators in numerous organizations that involve students in urban agriculture education. They represent NGOs, schools, community farms, museums, and botanical gardens. While these organizations have various goals, many of them empower young people to become active community members who care about social and environmental issues. A research paper based on these interviews is in progress.

Case study


Interview with Manuela Zamora, New York Sun Works.

Case study

Interview with Stephen Ritz, Green Bronx Machine.


Webinar with Renae Cairns, Teens for Food Justice

Publications and presentations

Urban agriculture education and youth civic engagement in the U.S.: A scoping review. In: Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems. (2021) PDF

Urban agriculture education in parks: Fostering civic engagement.  In: The Transformative Power of Parks. (In-press)

Integrating sustainability science into school curricula: New York Sun Works case study. Presentation at the World Environmental Education Congress, 2024. PDF

Hydroponic Vegetable

Unique urban spaces

Outdoor urban farms and indoor hydroponic classrooms have the potential to strengthen civil society. They enrich urban space, bring people together, and foster discussions about solutions to social and environmental issues.

Seedlings in Pots

Precursors of civic engagement

We learned from research publications that urban agriculture educators can foster civic engagement among youth through: (1) civic skills, (2) civic knowledge, (3) civic dispositions, (4) civic networks, and (5) civic action.


Case studies

NYC urban agriculture educators can enrich our understanding of how urban agriculture education fosters youth civic engagement. Here are two such case studies: from the Red Hook Farms, and New York Sun Works:



This project is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Hatch project number 1021530. This project is approved by the Cornell University Institutional Review Board for Human Participants on October 10, 2019, protocol ID 1909009057. Principal Investigators: Alex Kudryavtsev ( The photos above are taken at: Randall's Island Urban Farm, Battery Urban Farm, Science Barge, and Harlem Grown.

Land Acknowledgment


Alex Kudryavtsev, Cornell University

Marianne Krasny, Cornell University

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