Document Type

Master's Culminating Experience

Publication Date



According to Heimlich (1989), one of the leading development economists who has published several articles on small and urban farming, there are two major forms of urban farms namely backyard gardens and community gardens. These may, further be classified into recreational, adaptive, and traditional farms. Urban farms emerged as a direct response to beautify the landscape, provide food security and serve as an additional income source. Over time, changes in the farming sector allowed farmers to adopt direct marketing initiatives, circumventing the intermediaries in the distribution chain. These tactics of selling directly to consumers included farmers’ markets, road-side sales, and U- pick farms to name a few. In selling directly to consumers, urban farmers benefit by retaining more of the value created from selling their produce by minimizing various transactions costs. Adopting an econometric methodology that has rarely been used in past studies; the results show that location of the urban farm in the ‘Northern’ States and the extent that farmers’ principal profession is farming are important to creating value from directly selling agricultural produce to consumers. This study, also, reveals that hugely populated urban areas with residents enjoying higher disposable incomes positively influenced value created from direct sales. Nevertheless, a high concentration of small farms is adversely related to the value of produce sold directly for human consumption. Consequently, policy makers may suggest reforms that discourage formation of new sole proprietorships and provide more incentive schemes to urban farms in the South if they are to be equally successful.