Concrete Jungle

When people think of New York City, they don’t think of farmland. At least, not usually. The people over at recently released the results of their survey into how much food was grown in New York City community gardens in 2010. The results are interesting: of the 494 community gardens included in the study, 67 produced food. The total area of the 494 community gardens is 93 acres, compared to 1.7 acres of food-producing garden space. To put that in perspective, Central Park is 843 acres. Photobucket

So how much food does that 1.7 acres actually produce? Well, it turns out that in 2010, the 67 gardens grew a combined 88,000 pounds of produce, worth approximately $214,000. That’s no small figure, but when you take into account that New York City is made up of 154,000 acres of useable land, and that 8,902 of those acres are currently vacant, it becomes clear that the city’s food growing potential is very under-realized.

If even just ten acres total were dedicated to farming, we could produce 517,647 pounds of food every year. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we should each consume about a pound and a half of produce each day; the yield from just ten acres worth of crops would produce 345,098 servings, or $1,258,823 worth of produce for the people of New York.

596 Acres, a group whose project was recently funded on our site, concerns itself with making it known that there are 596 acres of vacant public land in Brooklyn. If those 596 acres were dedicated to growing produce for the people of New York City, they would yield over 30 million pounds of food, valued at $75 million. Producing that amount of food and the revenue generated from growing and selling that much food could do a lot for the people of New York, and would require less area than Central Park.

If you grow food, in a community garden or otherwise, good for you! If you don’t, there are a lot of ways to start: look for your nearest community garden here, find out more about the vacant land in Brooklyn here, or check out these tips for apartment gardening.