Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2014


In Copyright


This Article builds on efforts to promote urban agriculture and remove legal and practical obstacles to its development. Specifically, we explore concerns regarding land tenure. Urban agriculture development can be retarded by uncertainties in landownership and agriculturalists’ land rights. We explore property tools that could be helpful to urban agriculturalists (both farmers and gardeners). One thing we learned quickly in our research is that the challenges (and therefore the most helpful tools) vary greatly by place. For this reason, we present examples of urban agriculture efforts across the United States to demonstrate the varying challenges that jurisdictions face and to detail which property law tools have effectively been put to use. Some of tools (like negotiating long-term leases or getting permits to farm city-owned land) are already in place. Others (like using self-help nuisance concepts) are more theoretical. What we find most intriguing and potentially widely applicable is the development of urban agricultural land trusts and uses of partial property rights like conservation easements and other servitudes. We end with a broader discussion of how land trusts and the property tools they have at their disposal serve to meet current urban agricultural needs.

Publication Title

University of Detroit Mercy Law Review

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