Urban Fold

New York Becomes a Global Leader in...Farming?

Only a decade after the last family farm in the city closed, commercial agriculture is mining "the last slice of untapped real estate in the city" to reap a bounty of benefits - from locally grown basil and bok choy to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Lisa W. Foderaro chronicles New York City's ascendance to the rooftop farming summit, as commercial agriculture operations, both soil-based and hydroponic, spread from Brooklyn to the Bronx.

The seeds of this revolution are being spread from on high. "The City Planning Department recently revamped the zoning regulations to encourage green development, including rooftop farms, and the City Council approved the changes," writes Foderaro. "Amanda M. Burden, the planning commissioner, credited the changes with 'creating more places for urban agriculture to take root in a dense, built-up environment.'"

And the city has good reason to support such efforts: "the rise of commercial agriculture has ancillary benefits, as well. Rooftop farms have the potential to capture millions of gallons of storm water and divert it from the sewer system, which can overflow when it rains. And harvesting produce in the boroughs means fewer trucks on local roadways and lower greenhouse gas emissions, a goal of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's administration."

Full Story: To Find Fields to Farm in New York City, Just Look Up

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