Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts with University Honors


Environment & Sustainability


Downing, Amy


urban agriculture, climate change, environmental racism


Urban food systems have become an innovative way for modern cities, farmers, and community members to shift the way we often think about food, and where it comes from, and how it can play a role in both battling the effects of climate change, and environmental racism. In order to further explore the role of urban food systems in addressing these challenges, I used a case study approach to examine these issues both in the United States, and Internationally. The first case study was conducted during the Summer of 2022 when I completed an internship at Nãm Urban Mushroom Farm, located in Lisbon, Portugal. Nãm’s mission is to create a more sustainable community by reducing the amount of waste produced in cities like Lisbon, and create a completely new product through the use of a circular economy. Nãm transforms used coffee grounds into a substrate to locally grow mushrooms, and sell them back to consumers within the city. As a consequence, Nam contributes to reducing the effects of climate change. A second case study of an urban farm system, Franklinton Farms in Columbus, Ohio revealed that urban farms can also be used to combat environmental racism. By transforming abandoned land plots in a neglected area of Columbus, Ohio, Franklinton Farms provides community members with a way to access healthy foods at a low cost, while also supporting the growth of their community. A third case study, the Spice Kitchen in Cleveland, Ohio, examines the importance of education surrounding the growth and use of healthy foods for children who often struggle with food insecurity, to help make this a lasting change within their lives. Through this case study approach, I was able to show how the type of mission, goal and structure of urban food systems determine their role in helping to solve important societal problems such as climate change and environmental racism. These case studies reveal how nonprofit and for-profit organizations can create innovative solutions to these complex societal problems that affect millions of people around the world.


Secondary department: International Studies

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.



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