The first phase developed policy and metrics recommendations to support and grow urban agriculture in NYC in partnership with Added Value. To work towards implementation of our key policy and metrics goals, we partnered with the NYC Parks Department on a second phase of the project. Now in its third and final phase, we are working with Farming Concrete to scale up urban agriculture in NYC.
Five Borough Farm offers a roadmap to farmers and gardeners, City officials and stakeholders to understand and weigh the benefits of urban agriculture, and makes a compelling case for increasing resources—from soil and compost to growing space to funding—to grow urban agriculture throughout the five boroughs of New York City.
With Five Borough Farm, we established a framework to understand how the broad range of activities happening at the city's farms and gardens contribute to social, health, economic and ecological outcomes, and introduced a set of indicators that can be used to measure the multiple benefits of urban agriculture. These tools are the first of their kind to address the full range of urban agriculture activities and benefits, and can be used locally and nationally to demonstrate how urban agriculture can positively transform communities.
The project publication, Five Borough Farm: Seeding the Future of Urban Agriculture in New York City, and companion website were released in July 2012, providing the first in-depth comprehensive overview of urban agriculture in NYC. Together they offer 30 policy recommendations to support and expand urban agriculture in all five boroughs and established the nation's first urban agriculture metrics framework so that farmers and gardeners can track their activities and demonstrate their impact.
NYC is a national leader in the urban agriculture movement with more than 700 food-producing farms and gardens throughout the five boroughs – that's almost three times the number of Starbucks franchises. By comparison, Seattle and San Francisco each have about 75 farms and gardens.
But urban agriculture encompasses a wide range of activities in addition to growing food: they capture stormwater, compost food waste, and create safe, attractive public spaces. Participants gain leadership and job skills, learn about nutrition and the environment, and earn income at farmers markets. These activities contribute to many citywide health, social, economic, and ecological benefits, as well as to the goals of municipal agencies and elected officials.
Added Value, a nonprofit organization that runs the Red Hook Community Farm in Brooklyn, approached us with the idea for a project about urban agriculture during our 2009 Request-for-Proposals. Knowing first-hand the positive impact their urban farm has had in their community, they sought our assistance in quantifying the social, environmental, and economic benefits of urban agriculture; demonstrating the implications of this data to NYC policymakers; empowering other organizations locally and nationally to implement urban farms as public space; and activating public policy changes to encourage the creation of new community gardens and urban farms in NYC.
To understand and evaluate the benefits of urban agriculture, we assembled a multidisciplinary team of Fellows – including experts in food policy, sustainable design, and public health evaluation as well as a graphic designer and photographer – who conducted extensive research over a three-year period about all forms of urban agriculture in NYC.
This process included:
Urban agriculture engages people in initiatives to strengthen and improve the social, ecological and economic well-being of their communities and, by extensions, the city as a whole.
Added Value executive director Ian Marvy
presents his proposal to "quantify and demonstrate the social,
environmental, and economic impacts of urban agriculture as public space" to the Design Trust project selection jury.
Together with Added Value, we determine the project budget, schedule, and scope.
We assemble an interdisciplinary team of Fellows, including experts in food policy, sustainable design, and public health evaluation, as well as a graphic designer and fine art photographer.
The Fellows begin their research by visiting community gardens and urban farms across the five boroughs of NYC and interviewing practitioners.
We form an Advisory Committee of farmers, gardeners, funders and policy experts to guide the project.
More than 90 farmers, gardeners, food policy experts and funders gather together for a
participatory workshop about urban agriculture in NYC.
The team continues its research in the fields of food policy, public health evaluation, and sustainable design.
The team works together to synthesize the research and make the final policy and metrics recommendations to support and expand urban agriculture in NYC.
After many months of work, the publication–written, edited, and designed by Design Trust Fellows and staff–finally goes to print!
We release a beta version of our online data collection
tool which enables farmers & gardeners to input basic data, track their
progress, and produce reports.
On the rooftop of the NYC Parks Department headquarters in Central Park, we celebrate the release of "Five Borough Farm: Seeding the Future of Urban Agriculture in NYC."
We determine that a second phase of work is needed to implement the key policy and metrics recommendations we developed in the first phase. Go to Phase II.
December 7, 2017
Tuesday, May 22, 2012 @ 7:00 PM