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January 4th, 2019 / PNAS, US

Growing food in cities for human consumption could be one means of increasing global food supply in the face of rising population growth and global food security concerns. While previous studies have shown that urban agricultural systems are productive, few studies provide yield figures that incorporate data on the inputs used to achieve the outputs. Across 13 urban community gardens, we show that yields were nearly twice the yield of typical Australian commercial vegetable farms. However, economic and emergy (embodied energy) analyses indicated they were relatively inefficient in their use of material and labor resources. Balancing the sustainability of urban food production with the cost of inputs is important to determine the trade-offs required to achieve high yields. Read more