Submission Date


Document Type



Environmental Studies

Faculty Mentor

Patrick Hurley

Second Faculty Mentor

Tristan Ashcroft


Presented during the 24th Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 22, 2022 at Ursinus College.

Project Description

My research focuses on applications of urban agriculture, relationships between Indigenous peoples and community-based agriculture projects, and decolonizing food systems. I provide insight on colonialist tendencies, or ways in which the marginalization of Indigenous peoples is deeply entrenched within government, educational, and other leadership settings, as a way to evaluate and restructure urban agriculture projects to serve, represent and heal Native communities. Conventional urban agriculture has many known benefits, including its capacity for food production; however, the extent to which Indigenous communities participate in and benefit from urban agriculture has not been widely studied. Ongoing exclusion of Indigenous peoples from critical environmental policy making, land use decisions, and food system processes results in a lack of access to resources, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and loss of food sources that hold cultural and spiritual value. Many non-profit organizations and federal aid programs increase sovereignty of Indigenous people through professional and economic development but fail to revitalize Indigenous cultures and food systems. I analyzed existing literature and models of Indigenous-led urban agriculture organizations to develop a framework for decolonizing. The findings have implications for the Ursinus College Food Forest and Campus Farm in support of the College’s collaborative Welcome Home Project with the Delaware Tribe of Indians. Ideally, this research will result in a protocol that seeks to guide urban, community-based agricultural programs through a process of decolonization to ensure urban agricultural systems represent through inclusive practices, serve community needs, and help to heal Indigenous communities' food insecurity and lack of sovereignty.

Open Access

Available to all.