Rebuilding and Rethinking after Hurricane Sandy
NYC’s urban farms face a climate reality check
By Cathy Erway
Nov 2, 2012
Stacey Murphy, founder of BK Farmyards, worries about how these drastic weather patterns might impact young people’s interest in farming. “With the percentage of farmers already having dropped to below 1 percent of the population, we are at risk of losing crucial farming knowledge,” she says. Murphy emphasized the importance of federal programs such as the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program, which has been in funding limbo since the 2008 farm bill expired last month.
On the other hand, it’s also possible that the weather will shape city farming for the better. “I foresee farmers using new growing strategies in response,” says Murphy.
“Changing the way we eat and grow food is not only vital to slowing the effects of climate change, but is also a key way to mitigate the risks,” says Aaron Zueck, an operations manager of Butter Beans, Inc. and intern at Brooklyn Grange Bees. Most of those changes have to take place outside of cities, where the bulk of our food is grown, but urban areas are good places to experiment with things like better drainage and soil that absorbs carbon.
And it’s one thing for the city that never sleeps to face the wrath of Mother Nature now and then. But imagine, Zueck points out, if something similar were to strike California’s Central Valley, where most of the country’s fresh produce is grown?