Simplified: A new community group – including city officials, local food producers and conservationists – is looking to increase urban agriculture in Sioux Falls. Meet the Urban Agriculture Coalition.
Why it matters
- The coalition formed in part as a result of the work done so far on Sioux Falls' master plan for sustainability (a plan currently in-the-works after the city pressed pause on the first draft).
- The new group is already showing some momentum before its first meeting next week. Holly Meier, sustainability coordinator for the city, said the coalition already has its first two meetings scheduled – one to introduce the group and the second to outline action areas.
- By focusing on producing more food locally, Sioux Falls can make itself more resilient when things like supply chain issues hit on the national scale, said Stephanie Peterson, owner of Fruit of the Coop.
"It’s just really a win-win-win for our community," Meier said. "It helps address food access, which is an increasing priority … it helps support local businesses. It protects our environment in a number of ways. It helps us be an even more vibrant community."
What is urban agriculture?
It's a number of things, Peterson said.
- It can be as simple as someone growing produce in their own backyard garden.
- Or, it can be as broad as community-wide education programs, farm-to-school partnerships (think IronFox Farms), or support for local producers.
Peterson also mentioned the business side of urban agriculture. There are potential ways to allow people to sell produce from farm stands in their front yards, or to start their own businesses selling to neighbors, restaurants, etc.
"I would like to see all the things I mentioned, in some capacity, thriving in Sioux Falls in the next decade," she said.
What happens next?
The coalition's first meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Monday at the downtown library.
The group's second meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 12, also at the downtown library.
- All meetings will be open to the public, and the public is encouraged to attend.