Urban Agriculture | Sustainable Development | Climate Change Management    
Urban Agriculture: Food, Jobs, and Sustainable Cities - 2001 Edition, now available for reading and downloading on this website. See links below..
  Welcome to 21st Century Agriculture  

In 1995 "Urban Agriculture" was not listed at the United States Library of Congress, the world's largest repository of information.  On October 21, 2008 I checked Urban Agriculture on Google, there were four million entries.  Next I clicked the organization I work with [The Urban Agriculture Network, TUAN] and found over 420,000 entries. Last I checked my own name [Jac Smit] and found 6,000 entries. 

In 1995 if a graduate student wished to research a paper on urban agriculture he or she could not get permission from their professor, as it was not an acceptable topic. 

Here is one explanation of what happened in a dozen years.  The beginning may well be a global survey done at the United Nations University [UNU], in the late 1980s titled "The Food Energy Nexus" (FEN).  Somewhat to their surprise, fourteen of the thirty seven papers included in the survey were about urban agriculture, around the globe.  The summary report was not released until the mid 1990s.

The next most recognized publication, Urban Agriculture, Food, Jobs and Sustainable Cities, was launched at the World Urban Forum in Istanbul in 1996 by the United Nations Development Program [UNDP]. This book has been accepted as the "Seminal Document" by many academic and professional organizations.  It is based on visits to twenty countries between 1992 and 1994, visits to another ten countries prior to that date, and research at a dozen institutions in countries on all continents.  I am pleased to have been the lead author of this important work. 


  Interviews with Jac  

Segment #1: Jac and Urban Agriculture – The Beginnings

Segment #2: From Backyard 'Farmer' to Harvard

Segment #3: New Technologies Vitalize Urban Agriculture

Segment #4: Urban Agriculture, Refugees and the Poor

Segment #5: The First Urban Agriculture Library and Information Network

Segment #6: The Role of Women in Urban Agriculture

Segment #7: The Urban Agriculture Network, the United Nations, and the Book

Segment #8: Urban Agriculture Supports Main Street

Segment #9: The Future and Urban Agriculture

Thank you to Frank Barnako, our producer and sound engineer for Interviews with Jac

  Online Book Release!  

Urban Agriculture

Food, Jobs and Sustainable Cities

2001 Edition

Jac Smit
Joe Nasr
Annu Ratta

Published by:
The Urban Agriculture Network, Inc.
A Non-Profit, 501 (c)(3) Organization

With the financial support and permission of the
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

This document is available for downloading, copying, distribution and transmission.  Any use must be attributed to: Jac Smit, Joe Nasr, and Annu Ratta, Urban Agriculture: Food Jobs and Sustainable Cities (2001 edition, published with permission from the United Nations Development Programme).  Photos and figures have been left out at this time, but they may be added in the future.

Click here to view the book and download chapters


Jac Smit

November 4, 1929 - November 15, 2009

Often referred to as “the father of urban agriculture”, passed away on Sunday November 15th, 2009 at his Washington, DC home, a few days after his 80th birthday.  After working initially in the US (notably Chicago), Jac had a long career as a planner around the world, with assignments in Egypt, Iraq, Tanzania, and across South Asia, among others.  Jac was a pioneer in advocating for the cause of urban agriculture, first publishing on it in the 1960s.  He was the lead author on the seminal book on the subject: Urban Agriculture: Food, Jobs and Sustainable Cities (1996).  Jac founded The Urban Agriculture Network (TUAN) in 1992.  The unique library that he collected for TUAN will form the foundation of a new Urban Food and Agriculture Learning Centre in Toronto, to be managed by MetroAg – Alliance for Urban Agriculture.  Jac is survived by his wife, Elise Fiber Smith. 

Jac was tirelessly committed to urban agriculture worldwide.  To read more about Jac's passion for urban agriculture, please feel free to visit his website:  www.jacsmit.com

To help carry on Jac's legacy in this field, the family asks that in lieu of flowers or other gifts, donations can be made to:

        Urban Agriculture Network, Inc. 
        c/o Franz Jaggar 
        355 Club View Drive 
        Great Falls, VA  22066   

He will be greatly missed.


Tribute Video

Jac was the Director of the International Rescue commitee program in Bangladesh from 1972 to 1974. This tribute tells the story of Jac's work in that new country and his commitment to the people of Bangladesh. The video was prepared by Marshall Bear, who worked with Jac in-country and became a close friend and business associate.