Concern regarding the
sustainability of the current food system has been rising for a variety of
reasons. One proposed response to these
issues is urban agriculture, which has been argued to reduce food miles, enhance
gender equity, increase food security, provide employment, and other
enhancements to the quality of urban life.
This research asks a fundamental question: Is there sufficient land in
and around urban areas to produce seven widely consumed vegetables in
sufficient quantities to meet urban demand?
Using GIS, policy analysis, and regionally specific vegetable yields for
the Denver metropolitan region, we develop a replicable methodology to estimate
the land base and production potential for urban and suburban areas using
existing data. We conclude that the land
base is adequate in Denver and Wheat Ridge, a contiguous inner-ring suburban
community, to seasonally produce a large portion of fresh produce for seven
widely consumed vegetables. The analysis
includes backyard and community gardens as well as the possibility for more
extensive production in schoolyards, landscaped office grounds, and city-owned
lands such as parks and vacant land.
Paper under review.