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College of Engineering and Applied Science

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Farming the City

Urban Agriculture Potential in the Denver Metro Area


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.

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