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Researchers outline the interconnected benefits of urban agriculture

Springing from a once vacant neighborhood plot are neatly combed rows of crops planted by local residents. They meticulously care for this small piece of land, and soon enough, patches of green sprout. Cultivating that land may have started as a way to unite a neighborhood, to give pride to a place or to teach land stewardship to students. The urban agriculture phenomenon has grown for many reasons, each specific to the plot of land or "green rooftop" it covers. While most of the benefits seem to be local, when taken collectively, it's another story. Researchers have assessed the value of urban agriculture and quantified its benefits at a global scale. The researchers estimated the annual value of selected ecosystem benefits of urban agriculture as approximately $33 billion. The work, the researchers say, provides more than an accounting of urban agriculture in a single scenario. It can be used as a tool for future assessments of the changing urban agriculture landscape to understand trade-offs among urban design strategies.

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