Harvesting Data Essential for Saving Urban Gardens

To preserve the spread of urban gardening, activists are beginning to map and document the many haphazard community gardens to gain recognition from landlords and city officials in hopes of warding off bulldozers.
September 3, 2012, 5am PDT | Andrew Gorden
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It's undoubted that an urban food revolution is taking place in America's cities. And despite the growing number of urban farms and community gardens, and the growing appreciation for their benefit to communities (see here, here, and here.), threats from a lack of land tenure have driven activists to develop hard data supporting their contributions to local food systems and the economy.

"They're proactively surveying gardens in New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago in hopes that hard data - servings harvested, revenues earned, and more - will make landlords think twice before summoning the bulldozers," says Grist's Christopher Weber.

For example, from sixty-seven of the estimated five-hundred community gardens in New York City, 87,690 pounds of food was yielded, with an estimated value of over $200,000. With firmly documented numbers like these, activists hope landlords and city governments will be more welcoming of urban gardens, and view them as a more permanent fixture of urban systems, rather than something haphazard and temporary.

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Published on Tuesday, August 28, 2012 in Grist
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