How can government officials—or anyone interested in urban agriculture for that matter—find out how much food is produced in New York City? For now, the answer is: they can't. There is no official comprehensive count of the number of sites citywide, how much food they produce, how much food waste they divert from the City's waste stream, or how many students participate in farm- and garden-based classes.
Five Borough Farm addresses this need through the creation of a methodology and set of user-friendly tools that can be used by farmers and gardeners everywhere to track and evaluate urban agriculture's myriad impacts.
The first step in developing the metrics framework was to understand the kinds of benefits that farmers, gardeners, and other key stakeholders intuitively link to urban agriculture. Based on extensive interviews, site visits, and a comprehensive survey of peer-reviewed literature, Five Borough Farm defines nineteen outcomes toward which urban agricultural activities in New York City can contribute. The potential outcomes were grouped into four main categories—health, social, economic, and ecological.
Within this framework, activities may contribute to multiple potential benefits. To demonstrate those kinds of benefits, data must be collected about specific activities that take place at New York City's farms and gardens. The recommended indicators are designed to make the process of data collection and analysis accessible to anyone in the urban agriculture community, allowing even farmers and gardeners with limited resources to report on their activity, thus making it easier to aggregate information on urban agriculture's impacts citywide.
For more detailed information about using the Indicator Guide, please refer to the "Indicator Definitions" document on the Resources page.