Cornell University Takes a Closer Look at the Benefits and Stability of Urban Farming

In *All, Agricultural Systems by Ag is America

There are many benefits of urban farming because of the control growers have over the environment. The ability to grow year-round, reduction of transportation costs and water use, improving land-use efficiency, and providing educational opportunities for the community are all great reasons for growing indoors.

However, there isn’t a lot of legitimate research that directly compares conventional field agriculture and controlled-environment agriculture (CEA). Cornell University is determined to find answers, thanks to a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation. Neil Mattson, an associate professor in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science, has been tasked as the grant’s principal investigator.

“Urban agriculture is an increasingly touted way to connect producers with consumers, and this grant will help guide full development of this industry and do better to figure out where the best opportunities might be, as well as cases where it doesn’t make sense,” Mattson said.

The grant will support six main projects including case studies, computer modeling of energy and water use, networking, nutritional value, workforce needs, and training opportunities for urban farmers and researchers. They’re hoping that their research will determine if CEAs make sense for producing food for the masses.

For more information on the grant and what the project will entail, read more here.

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