Online Program

Urban Agriculture in Los Angeles County: An Assessment of the Potential to Improve Food Security

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 5:10 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Tyler Watson, MPH, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Introduction: Los Angeles County (LAC) has some of the highest rates of food insecurity, federal food assistance, and chronic diet-related diseases in the country. Urban agriculture has been growing rapidly in recent years and studies have shown that the presence of an urban agriculture site such as a community garden can have positive health impacts for local residents including increased fruit and vegetable intake, dietary knowledge, social interaction, physical exercise, and other benefits. However, the potential for urban agriculture to meet the produce needs of LAC and improve food access in the most food insecure neighborhoods is unclear.

Methods: Data on average agricultural yields and vacant lot space were used to estimate the land area that would need to be cultivated in order to provide the produce needs for the population of LAC. In addition, a geospatial analysis incorporated several indicators of food security, health, and urban agriculture sites in order to identify “hotspots,” or areas in LAC with the greatest need for access to fresh produce.

Results: Cultivated land area requirements, a compilation of available food security and urban agriculture indicators, and maps of food security hotspots will be presented as results of the analysis.

Discussion: The results can be used to inform similar analyses of urban agriculture and the prioritization of urban agriculture development in LAC in the neighborhoods with greatest need.

Learning Areas:

Environmental health sciences
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Identify food security and urban agriculture indicators Describe the diet-related health issues in Los Angeles County Compare food security hotspots across Los Angeles County Discuss opportunities for urban agriculture to help improve food security

Keyword(s): Built Environment, Food Security

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am studying urban agriculture and food security for my dissertation, and I have already conducted preliminary research in this area. I am familiar with the public health, food security, and urban agriculture data available for Los Angeles County. I have several contacts in local urban agriculture, and I am proficient with GIS analysis.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.