Interconnected benefits of urban agriculture

Read the full story in Science Daily.

From a vacant plot in a blighted neighborhood springs neatly combed rows of plants put in by the neighbors. They meticulously care for this small piece of land and among the drab looking buildings sprouts a patch of green. Cultivating the land may have started as a way to unite a neighborhood; to give pride to place, or it might be the project of a local high school to teach land stewardship.

The urban agriculture phenomenon has grown over the years for many reasons, each specific to the plot of land or rooftop it covers. While most of the benefits from these efforts seem to be limited and very local, when taken collectively there is a significant environmental impact that results from them.

Now a team of researchers led by Arizona State University and Google has assessed the value of urban agriculture and quantified its benefits at global scale. They report their findings in “A Global Geospatial Ecosystems Services Estimate of Urban Agriculture,” in the current issue of Earth’s Future.

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