In Growing Green: Measuring Benefits, Overcoming Barriers, and Nurturing Opportunities for Urban Agriculture in Boston, we looked at what would happen if commercial urban farms put 50 acres of currently underutilized land into food production. We found that it would:
- Create between two and five direct, on-farm jobs per acre, or between 130 and 220 jobs across the 50 acres. More jobs will be created to provide services to these emerging businesses, including equipment sales, composting and soil inputs, and food processing.
- Potentially sequester approximately 112 tons of carbon dioxide in well-maintained soil per year. They would also help mitigate additional greenhouse gas emissions by creating demand for compost made from food waste.
- Help divert 35% of Boston food waste from landfills – a stated goal of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) – allowing the City to avoid emitting another 43,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually.
- Generate approximately 1.5 million pounds of fresh produce for sale into local markets, providing local communities with a nearby source of healthy food.