Study Assesses Urban Agriculture Potential of Phoenix

A group of researchers led by Arizona State University found that if Phoenix used just 5% of its urban spaces for agriculture, the city could meet its sustainability goal concerning local food systems. The study estimated that nearly 28 square miles are available for urban agriculture in Phoenix, including vacant lots, rooftops, and building facades. Nearly 71% of the available space comes from existing buildings, rather than vacant land. However, use of vacant land would have the additional benefit of adding greenspace to the city. Researchers found that, utilizing the available space, the city could produce nearly 183,000 tons of fresh produce per year, or almost 90% of the current annual fresh produce consumed by city residents. The study also noted that rooftop agriculture could reduce energy use in buildings by 3% per building per year and potentially displace more than 50,000 metric tons of CO2 annually.