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Webinars about Brownfields and Urban Agriculture Reuse

Brownfields and Urban Agriculture Reuse Special Webinar Series

As cities seek strategies to revitalize urban neighborhoods, local governments and community non-profits have begun working with residents to reuse infill properties for growing plants and food and improving and restoring the environment. This work is providing multiple benefits and helping to stabilize neighborhoods.

While creating urban agriculture projects, communities working with the EPA have identified gaps in knowledge and policy that create unintentional road blocks to completion of urban agriculture redevelopment on brownfields sites. In order to begin addressing these concerns, the US EPA has worked with a wide range of urban agriculture stakeholders, including partners within federal, state and local governments, community-based non-profits and university researchers to create two free webinars that presented a snapshot of the state of knowledge regarding the issues surrounding the reuse of brownfields sites for urban agriculture projects. These webinars are provided below.

Information presented in these webinars provided the basis for conversations at the Brownfields and Urban Agriculture Reuse Midwestern Summit, October 21-22, 2010 in Chicago, IL. This working session explored the various processes and approaches used to develop urban agriculture projects on brownfields sites, and what environmental questions communities should consider as these projects are developed.

Brownfields and Urban Agriculture Reuse Webinar #1

The State of Scientific Knowledge and Research Needs (September 7, 2010)

This webinar presents the answers to many of the scientific questions faced when beginning an urban agriculture projects at a brownfields site, including:

  • What are the common contaminants found in the air, water, and soil of an urban infill lot?
  • How does this affect the decision process when developing an urban agriculture project?
  • What kinds of historical land uses should trigger deeper investigation?
  • Can amending urban soils with compost or other amendments make the soil "healthy"?
  • What do we know about plant uptake and bioavailability? Is phytoremediation appropriate?

Presenters include: Lilah Zautner, Neighborhood Progress Inc; Karla Auker, USEPA Region 5; Dave Behringer, Behr Environmental; Nick Basta, The Ohio State University; Steve Rock and Kirk Scheckel, USEPA Office of Research and Development; and Michele Mahoney, USEPA Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation.

Brownfields and Urban Agriculture Reuse Webinar #2

Policy Barriers and Incentives to Reusing Brownfields for Community Gardens and Urban Agriculture (October 7, 2010)

This webinar explores policy issues surrounding the growing of plants and food on urban infill lots, including:

  • How do existing state Voluntary Clean-up Programs address urban agriculture issues?
  • How does urban agriculture fit in to existing programs for land use determination?
  • What are the property control and ownership considerations for urban agriculture projects?
  • How should economic development drivers influence decisions for using urban agriculture as a revitalization strategy?
  • How are innovative cities working within or changing their policy structure to make urban agriculture work for them?

Presenters include: Marcia Caton Campbell, Center for Resilient Cities; Amy Yersavich and Vanessa Steigerwald-Dick, Ohio EPA; Kathy Dickhut and Bradley Roback, City of Chicago; Andrew Bracker, City of Kansas City, MO; and Jenn Bildersee, City of Portland, OR.