This research examines the role of urban agriculture in ten cities within the Southwest region of the United States. It includes a literature review on the current state of America's food system and specifically, the ways that it is failing. It then draws on specific examples from a month long field study to show how urban agriculture can, and should be, a part of the solution.
Using Drake’s Bay Oyster Farm as an example, the conflict between the National Park Service and local community is examined. To analyze this conflict from a legal, historical or political perspective does not fully explain why these tensions came to a head in such an extreme way in the Oyster Farm battle, or illuminate larger implications for land use in the United States. I argue that a post-structural analysis of discourse reveals larger difficulties that have made this conflict virtually unresolvable and damaging to the community, and it indicates that conflicting discourses are present and problematic in other National Parks in the United States. In this paper I examine how the Federal Government, the NPS and the employees of Point Reyes National Seashore have created a powerful discourse of conservation, that has long conflicted with a counter discourse of sustainable local agriculture in the area. The existence of agriculture and aquaculture within PRNS presents a friction point between these two discourses. This friction culminated in a controversy over the removal of Drake’s Bay Oyster Company, and was escalated by a community that has a history of activism and resistance to change. This conflict became a political and legal battle that illuminated the differences in power, scale, and ideologies between the participants in the conflicting discourses.