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Mission Statement

The research goals of this project are to compare urban and conventional agriculture with respect to their environmental benefits (handprint) and impacts (footprint). We hypothesize that the handprint of urban agriculture may be higher than its footprint, making it a highly beneficial approach for growing food!

Why does it matter?
An increasing percentage of people are moving into cities, getting farther away from places where crops are traditionally cultivated. If we could farm in the cities, food transportation distances and associated environmental impact would be reduced; the freshness of the food and self-reliance and resilience of cities would increase.

With an increasing number of backyard and community gardens, our society is already gradually transitioning to producing food within the city, but...

-...can urban agriculture be more efficient and environmentally friendly than conventional farming?

-Are environmental impacts always greater than environmental benefits in agriculture?

-How can we use existing environmental impact and environmental benefit modeling approaches to estimate net and absolute sustainability of agriculture?

In this project, we will answer these types of questions in a collaborative effort from University of Toledo (UT), University of Utah (UU), and Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). Current local food movement will further strengthen and be guided by scientific understanding if our results show that urban agriculture has net environmental benefits.

From urban-agriculture centered communities to prolific and sustainable food production in urban centers, urban agriculture has many forms a strong ability to help people become closer to their food.