Urban Farming in New York

Ilona Mukhisnova ENG 1101 10/22/2012 Prof. Alatriste Home Paper #2 – Argumentative Essay Urban Farming for Providing NYC with a Sustainable Food System ?Nowadays, a life in a huge megalopolis like New York can be very advantageous for a person in things like an easy access to business, culture, politics, and entertainment. However, live in the big city can has its own negative sides. Scott Stringer, in the report “Food NYC: A Blueprint for Sustainable Food System” points out serious nutrition and pollution issues in the city.
Indeed, there are a lot of problems that New Yorkers have to face with, but a lack of “affordable and healthy” food is one of things that the City’s residents suffer most from. The report contains ideas and recommendations that New York can adopt to “balance health, economic, and environmental needs. ” According to the report, it could be reached by changing processes of producing and consumption of food such as the use of efficient and energy-saving technologies which may lead to reducing NYC’s GHG emissions.
I think that sustainable food system could be developed by means of promotion of local agriculture and encouraging residents and businesses to consume locally produced food. ?There are a lot of problems that make the developing of local agriculture in the city difficult. One of such problems is the high CO2 production. In his report, Stringer says that “the city has committed to reducing its GHG emissions by 30 percent by the year 2030,” if it sticks to Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC initiative.

However, a lot of people think that it’s really a low percentage of improvements for almost twenty-year period, but I believe that it’s way better than no improving at all, and that there’s some other ways to improve the environmental situation the city. One of the ways to reduce such problems as CO2 emission is to increase the number of parks and gardens in the city. According to Stringer’s report, some people consider gardens as “a transitional use of land, available until the land is ready for urban development. I find this point of view wrong, as these green oases in the middle of the concrete jungles help to keep our city healthier by both “absorb[ing] carbon through photosynthesis” and, thus, preserving the environment and being a place for community activities. Lubie Grujicic-Alatriste, the author of the article “New York City Community Gardens Are in Full Bloom,” says community gardens “bring so much needed relief from urban pollution. I agree with the author’s view that local residents’ help in maintaining community gardens are one of the best examples of people’s efforts to save the green “plots of land,” and this, most importantly, can help decrease the negative impacts of food sector. ?One of the biggest stoppers of developing urban agriculture in New York City is a lack of available for gardening and farming lands. In a built-up city like New York, the demand on land is great.
There are some groups of people such as construction companies who are against securing the City’s land for agriculture purposes. They all need land for developing new projects and getting large profit. I think the City Government should create proper legislation to regulate the City’s land use and protect existing parks and gardens from being replaced with buildings. Also, the land demand keeps the prices on land extremely high, what makes it difficult to do business by growing fruits and vegetables; farms’ profits not always can cover the costs of production.
Danielle Sonnenberg writes in her article “Interest Grows in Urban Farms: City’s Green Movement Has Ear of Wall Street” that “real estate costs are high”, and that the City and community organizations should increase the interest of Wall Street to invest in urban farming. The author points out that agriculture companies like NewSeed Advisors and Gotham Greens find urban farming profitable. Examples of these companies show that projects like hydroponic greenhouse are actually “commercially viable. That makes Wall Street consider urban farming as a good source of investment. All of the above reasons bring us to the point that we should consider new ways of city farming. According to the “Food NYC”, urban agricultural growth may be achieved by considering opportunities of using of “underutilized spaces, such as rooftops, basements, or warehouses. ” In the article “Huge Rooftop Farm is Set for Brooklyn”, which appeared in the New York Times on April 5th, 2012, the author (Lisa W.
Foderato) tells about a new project of “Bright Farms, a private company that develop greenhouses,” the world’s largest rooftop farm in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The farm is going to work on the hydroponic technology, – “vegetables are [going to be] grown in water rather than soil. ” Rooftop farms are not a novelty for New York: there are already farms in Long Island City, the Greenpoint, etc. Thus, the development of alternative urban farms may encourage city residents to consume locally produced food.
The supporting and developing untraditional type of urban farming will bring affordable fresh produce to the City’s counters. Locally produced food with the use of modern technology can improve the overall health of the City’s population, lower the food’s costs, and reduce negative environmental impact. Securing the land for parks and gardens use can also improve NYC environment. Promoting urban agriculture and encouraging residents to consume locally produced food can help the City Government to provide New Yorkers with sustainable food system.

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