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Volume 38, No. 2

Urban Farms Fuel Idealism. Profits? Not So Much

Pick a farm trend in the past decade and urban agriculture is likely to top the list. But for all the timely appeal of having a little house on the urban prairie, the practice often raises a simple question: Can anyone earn a living doing it?

The answer: Not by much, according to a new survey of 370 urban farmers across the U.S., published this month in the British Food Journal. But researchers suggest that the modest profit to be had might not be as big of a downside as you think.

The average urban farm sees sales of just under $54,000 a year, according to the survey, although hydroponic operations earn more than double that and rooftop farms one-sixth of it. That modest paycheck may be why 1 in 3 urban farmers reported earning their living from their farms. And keep in mind that "this does not provide information about standard of living," study co-author Carolyn Dimitri, an economist in New York University's food studies department, said in an email. Read the full article.


Originally publilshed March 7, 2016 by NPR.org. By Tracie McMillan

Image by Linda N. See licensing agreement. 

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