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4/29/11 - Trust-funded Crop Count 2011, Project of Farming Concrete, Featured in the Times

Concrete Farm Grows Chard (Callaloo, Too) 

by Neil Genzlinger for theNew York Times

... Others apparently don’t have that problem, as an outfit called Farming Concrete learned last year when it set out to try to quantify how much produce is being grown in New York’s community gardens. It asked gardeners to record the number of vegetable plants they had, and weigh their crops. The resulting data is downright dismaying to us Igagnyers but kind of astounding to anyone else: the 67 community gardens that participated — covering a total of just 1.7 acres — racked up 87,700 pounds of edible stuff. That produce was worth at least $200,000, the group concluded.

“By calculating the area used for food production as well as the weight and dollar value of the food grown, we hope to highlight community gardens as a critical land use,” said Mara Gittleman, an adjunct lecturer and farm assistant at Kingsborough Community College who conducted the study with Eric Brelsford. The social role of community gardens has been much remarked upon, she said, but their economic value hasn’t been well documented. And when development pressure threatens the city’s 500 community gardens, as it does periodically, the economics are everything.

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