Pollinator and Beneficial Insect Habitat: Small Urban Farms and Community Spaces


Urban landscapes are diverse and can provide unique habitat opportunities for pollinators and other beneficial invertebrates. However, habitat loss in urban areas is a driving factor of insect decline. Small urban farms and community gardens are great locations to add in native habitat pockets, strips, hedgerows, gardens, and more. At the same time, these habitats can be designed to offer many added benefits for wildlife, crop production, water quality, stormwater management, education, and the community! Growing food in urban spaces is not a new practice, but its presence is increasing in many cities as more people are taking an active role in where their food comes from and the betterment of their communities and environment. Join Mace Vaughan, Pollinator Conservation Program Co-Director, and Stefanie Steele, Pollinator Conservation Specialist, as they dive deeper into the issue of pollinator habitat loss in urban landscapes and how we can tackle this while also addressing other conservation and climate change challenges. They will also provide resources and techniques you can use on your small urban farm or community garden to increase native biodiversity and attract pollinating insects, beneficial predatory insects, and more!

Additional Resources:
USDA programs in support of Urban Agriculture

USDA-NRCS programs that provide direct Technical and Financial Assistance for Urban Ag

EPA: Turning Brownfields into Community-Supported and Urban Agriculture

USDA People’s Garden

Keep Growing Detroit Curb Appeal Project

Xerces Pollinator Conservation Resource Center
Xerces overwintering habitat

Xerces Plant Lists

Xerces Habitat Assessment Guides

Xerces Habitat Installation Guides

Finding local NRCS Service Center

Xerces Detroit Pollinator Habitat Kit

National black food and justice coalition

National young farmers coalition

Native farm bill coalition

Links to papers and other mentioned resources:

Wilson, C. J., & Jamieson, M. A. (2019). The effects of urbanization on bee communities depends on floral resource availability and bee functional traits. PloS One, 14(12), e0225852.https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0225852

Turo, K. J., & Gardiner, M. M. (2020). The balancing act of urban conservation. Nature Communications, 11(1), 3773. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-17539-0

Siegner, A., Sowerwine, J., & Acey, C. (2018). Does Urban Agriculture Improve Food Security? Examining the Nexus of Food Access and Distribution of Urban Produced Foods in the United States: A Systematic Review. Sustainability: Science Practice and Policy, 10(9), 2988. https://doi.org/10.3390/su10092988

Shepley, M., Sachs, N., Sadatsafavi, H., Fournier, C., & Peditto, K. (2019). The Impact of Green Space on Violent Crime in Urban Environments: An Evidence Synthesis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(24). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16245119

Ferreira, A. J. D., Guilherme, R. I. M. M., Ferreira, C. S. S., & Oliveira, M. de F. M. L. de. (2018). Urban agriculture, a tool towards more resilient urban communities? Current Opinion in Environmental Science & Health, 5, 93–97. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.coesh.2018.06.004

Li, J., & Nassauer, J. I. (2020). Cues to care: A systematic analytical review. Landscape and Urban Planning, 201, 103821. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2020.103821


Xerces Native Plant, Seed And Services Directory

SARE Cover Cropping for Pollinators and Beneficial Insects

Cover Photo: Sarah Nizzi/Xerces Society


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