Consumers' Perception of Urban Farming—An Exploratory Study

Carola Grebitus, Lauren Chenarides, Rebecca Muenich, Alex Mahalov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Urban agriculture offers the opportunity to provide fresh, local food to urban communities. However, urban agriculture can only be successfully embedded in urban areas if consumers perceive urban farming positively and accept urban farms in their community. Success of urban agriculture is rooted in positive perception of those living close by, and the perception strongly affects acceptance of farming within individuals' direct proximity. This research investigates perception and acceptance of urban agriculture through a qualitative, exploratory field study with N = 19 residents from a major metropolitan area in the southwest U.S. Specifically, in this exploratory research we implement the method of concept mapping testing its use in the field of Agroecology and Ecosystem Services. In the concept mapping procedure, respondents are free to write down all the associations that come to mind when presented with a stimulus, such as, “urban farming.” When applying concept mapping, participants are asked to recall associations and then directly link them to each other displaying their knowledge structure, i.e., perception. Data were analyzed using content analysis and semantic network analysis. Consumers' perception of urban farming is related to the following categories: environment, society, economy, and food and attributes. The number of positive associations is much higher than the number of negative associations signaling that consumers would be likely to accept farming close to where they live. Furthermore, our findings show that individuals' perceptions can differ greatly in terms of what they associate with urban farming and how they evaluate it. While some only think of a few things, others have well-developed knowledge structures. Overall, investigating consumers' perception helps designing strategies for the successful adoption of urban farming.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number79
JournalFrontiers in Sustainable Food Systems
StatePublished - Jun 12 2020


  • cognitive structures
  • concept mapping
  • exploratory
  • semantic network
  • urban agriculture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Ecology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Horticulture


Dive into the research topics of 'Consumers' Perception of Urban Farming—An Exploratory Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this