Urban farms occupy sites in cities, towns, suburbs, and on the urban fringe, and use creative approaches to produce food in smaller spaces, including indoors and on rooftops. These farms not only provide fresh, local, nutritious food for urban and suburban consumers, but also benefit urban communities through job skills training and neighborhood revitalization. A successful urban farmer combines a good knowledge of how to grow food with a solid, practical understanding of the socioeconomic factors that distinguish urban agriculture from traditional agriculture.
The School for Urban Agriculture (SUA) is a collaborative effort of Rooted, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems and Farm and Industry Short Course, and the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute.
SUA welcomes, and is designed for, students with a range of experiences and interests – from farmers seeking specialized training in urban agriculture, to secondary and post-secondary students working toward careers in agriculture and community food systems, to community members seeing urban farms and gardens as foundations for neighborhood self-determination.
SUA participants will learn about the special characteristics of urban food production, including the distribution and marketing of urban-grown food, post-harvest processing and storage, remediation of urban soils, relevant policy issues, and more. This breadth of training within SUA can prepare participants for a wide range of careers and service opportunities including and beyond farming, such as starting food businesses, working for nonprofit organizations engaged in food systems work, horticultural therapy, school gardens, environmental education, and even the Peace Corps.
SUA currently offers training opportunities through three linked educational platforms
Topics include, among others:
- Special dimensions of urban food production
- Season extension approaches for urban farms
- Methods of container growing
- Nonprofit organizations and community food project
In addition to direct urban agriculture training, SUA also partners with established providers of career and leadership pathways for secondary students into food systems and urban agriculture careers. These include the UW-Madison PEOPLE program and the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute GULFS program.