Five Boroughs Farm in NYC has been doing intensive work on distilling down the metrics and tools to use when tracking urban ag outcomes. Here’s some info from the executive summary.
Numerous studies have demonstrated that urban agricultural activities improve healthy eating, increase physical activity, provide employment opportunities, and build community cohesiveness. However, very little of that work focuses specifically on New York City, or develops measures that can demonstrate benefits at a neighborhood as well as a citywide scale, and ultimately inform the decision-making of elected officials and agency commissioners.
The Metrics chapter in the publication establishes a framework to understand how the broad range of activities taking place at the city’s farms and gardens can contribute to social, health, economic, and ecological outcomes. Also included are more than forty “indicators,” or signs of progress and change, that farmers and gardeners can track. Ultimately, data collected using these indicators could inform citywide urban agriculture policy.
Based on the priorities and capacity of the vast majority of the city’s farms and gardens, two types of indicators are recommended:
- Indicators to track the scope, scale, and geographic concentration of urban agricultural activities
- Indicators to track outcomes such as health and behavorial changes