Growing Green: Measuring Benefits, Overcoming Barriers, and Nurturing Opportunities for Urban Agriculture in Boston
New Report: The economic development potential for urban agriculture in Greater Boston
CLF and CLF Ventures
61 page report
Jul 12, 2012
Key findings of the report include:
Land is available. 50 acres – an area the size of Boston Common – is a small portion of the vacant or underutilized land available in Boston.
Urban farms would stimulate the economy by creating jobs. 50 acres of urban agriculture in Boston will likely generate at least 130 direct farming jobs and may generate over 200 jobs depending on actual business characteristics and revenue.
Healthy, local and affordable food. 50 acres in agricultural production would provide enough fresh produce to feed over 3,600 people over a six-month retail season. If the produce is used to prepare healthy school lunches in Boston Public Schools, 50 acres could provide more than one serving of fresh produce for each lunch served to a student eligible for free or reduced school lunch over a six month period. If 800 acres of potentially available City-owned land were put into agricultural production, the food needs of approximately 10 percent of Boston’s total population could be fully satisfied during a six-month retail season.
Significant environmental impacts. Urban agriculture in Boston will result in a net reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. 50 acres of properly managed soils would sequester about 114 tons of cabon dioxide (CO2) per year and may result in an additional CO2 reduction of up to 4,700 tons per year.
Community adaptation. No less than 6,000 new temperature records were set during the recent March 2012 heat wave, and more than 40,000 have been set for the year-to-date. Meanwhile, the July 2011-June 2012 period was the warmest 12-month period of any 12-months on record for the contiguous U.S., with the first half of 2012 being the hottest ever recorded. The International Energy Agency’s recent projection of a 10.8 degree F temperature increase over pre-industrial levels by the end of this century underscores the fact that a more decentralized food system will be necessary to enable our communities to better adapt to changing climate conditions, including the impacts of more frequent severe weather. Urban agriculture is a part of this solution.