Studying the effects of neighborhood gardens

urban farm with city skyline in the backgroundASU is taking the lead on a collaborative national project –supported by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Center for Atmospheric Research – to answer questions about urban farming. Senior sustainability scientist Alex Maholov is the project's lead principal investigator and oversees an interdisciplinary team consisting of computational and climate scientists, mathematicians, statisticians, geoscientists and social scientists. The team will help predict the yields of crops, studying “what if” scenarios to optimize future outcomes. For example, the team will study what would happen if vacant lands around the Phoenix metropolitan area were converted to farms. The end product will be a physics-based model utilizing weather and farming data to predict environmental, economic and socio-economic impacts of increased urban agriculture. The model will be public and accessible to everyone, including scientists, researchers, farmers, city planners and policymakers.