When Urban Agriculture Is at Odds with Sustainability

Today I discovered an interesting post from Zane Selvans at Flat Iron Bike that was quoted by Streetsblog.  The post discusses the downside of a proposal in Boulder, Colorado, to set aside 25 downtown acres for urban agriculture.

On its face, setting aside land downtown for urban agriculture might sound like a great proposal, but there are a couple of problems.  The site is located adjacent to a high frequency transit corridor and would be much better suited as a transit-oriented development, allowing both residential and commercial uses to benefit from the high proximity to transit.  A second aspect is the almost $5 million cost of the agricultural easement for a mere 25 acres, when the funds could be used to preserve much larger areas near the city’s periphery, a good example of which are 243 acres that were preserved by Boulder in 1993 for the bargain price of $1 million.

I agree with Zane.  The money could be better spent for preservation elsewhere, and the site could make a great transit-oriented development.  It’s also possible to develop the land in such a way that integrates urban agriculture into the design.