In recent years there has been an increase in number of youths without wage employment in urban areas resulted to low level of education and large number of migrants to cities. This population does not have enough qualifications and skills to enable them to get formal employment.
Urban agriculture can be effective area for the development of small business for youth. It helps youth to avoid idleness, prevent them from using drugs and committing crimes. A Philadelphia police officer noted that, crime decreased from 40 to 4 incidents per month after a program of gardening was started. Similarly, she added, on Dear Born Street, San Francisco, CA, the crime rate dropped to 26 percent after one year of gardening program.
Urban agriculture is the solution of youth’s problems. Gardening has been found to be the most effective solution to the youth problem. According to San Antionio, it is much more effective than sports. Records have shown that, after students are involved in gardening, their school attendance, morale and grades improves (K. Gray, and Kappan, (1996). Gray also observed that, gang activity decreases sharply in neighborhoods where youth are engaged in gardening. The observation was also shared by Dr. R. Wamper who commented that, “Intervention and prevention before the kids are caught up in the justice system is much less costly in human lives and dollars”. Judge Whiteaker shared this concept and said that “I have never had a kid involved in 4-H club in juvenile court “.
The objectives of urban agriculture are not only to create jobs for youth but also with the cultivation of character and citizenship as well. These objectives are as follows:
v To assist urban youth acquire desirable standards of farming,
v To instill in young minds a useful work experience and develop good attitudes for personal achievement. Cited example is the powerful food company known as Food from the Hood (FFH). It is the American’s first student managed natural food products company. FFTH was created on Octobers 1992 in response to the Los Angeles uprising what started as a classroom project. The students began to market their line of salad dressing with the help from local businesses. To date FFTH has awarded over $ dollar 140,000 in college scholarships to student managers.
v To teach the importance of scientific agriculture and their relation to total economy,
v To choose a way to earn living,
v To cultivate an appreciation of nature and wise use of natural resources.
With such potential, city governments must recognize the potential of urban agriculture to youth and accord it the status given to other industries and economic activities in the city. Urban agricultural groups can be organized in community centers, schools and neighborhoods.