New York, New York, my kind of farm town
What are some of the qualities that make New York unique? World-class arts and entertainment? Certainly. A hub of international commerce? Yep. A gathering place for world leaders? Check. A leader in food-growing?… Huh?
While the Big Apple can’t compete with, say, Nebraska, it is the national leader in urban agriculture. Grass-roots community leaders have worked to turn vacant lots into gardening spaces for decades, and working farms exist both on the ground and on rooftops throughout the city. Now the Design Trust for Public Land, in partnership with the Brooklyn-based organization Added Value, has released Five Borough Farm: Seeding the Future of Urban Agriculture in New York, a survey of the city’s current agricultural efforts and a vision for the future of farming within New York.
What did the researchers find? That the more than 700 food-producing farms and gardens spread over the five boroughs provide significant “health, social, economic and ecological benefits,” including physical activity, job readiness skills and even a reduction in the urban heat island effect. By and large, these benefits have sprung from voluntary, self-organized efforts; the report’s authors believe that financial and policy support from the city could spread these benefits to even more New Yorkers.
Five Borough Farm also takes a literal snapshot of agricultural efforts throughout the city: lots of photography included, some of which you can see online. Videographers also contributed to the visual collection: Ride5 Films made the following short overview of the project itself:
Yep, New York’s a farm town — who’d have thought?
Got a favorite urban farm or community garden in the city? Let us know about it.
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