The Trouble with Urban Farming

The Urban Farming ‘revolution’ has a Fatal Flaw

Commercial urban agriculture in New York City has provided questionable environmental gains, and has not significantly improved urban food security. These are the findings of a recent case study of New York City which shows that, despite the fanfare over commercial urban farming, it will need a careful re-evaluation if it’s going to play a sustainable role in our future food systems.

The rise of commercial controlled-environment agriculture (CEA)—comprised of large scale rooftop farms, vertical, and indoor farms—is a bid to re-envision cities as places where we could produce food more sustainably in the future. Proponents see CEA as a way to bring agriculture closer to urban populations, thereby increasing food security, and improving agriculture’s environmental footprint by reducing the emissions associated with the production and transport of food.