Championing Five Borough Farm
Five Borough Farm: Seeding the Future of Urban Agriculture was initiated not only to help city agencies and officials institute positive change in support of the urban agriculture movement at the policy level, but to equip farmers and gardeners on the ground with a deeper understanding of the full scope and benefit of their work and become more empowered in acquiring the support necessary to grow their practice.
What began with a set of comprehensive metrics and policy recommendations in the first phase of the project, evolved into a partnership with the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation to put some of these recommendations into action in the second, culminating in a third phase marked by the release of the first publicly accessible Data Collection Toolkit to farmers and gardeners in conjunction with targeted efforts to develop more sustainable models of funding models for urban agriculture practices in the future.
Urban agriculture engages people in initiatives to strengthen and improve the social, ecological and economic well-being of their communities and, by extensions, the city as a whole.
– Nevin Cohen, Five Borough Farm Policy Fellow
Our team’s understanding of effective communication design and deep knowledge of conveying complex data to a discerning audience allowed us to synthesize several years’ worth of findings into a comprehensive and highly accessible package. It became very clear to us from the get-go that there was a tremendous opportunity available to this project – to create a unique campaign with a visual tone unlike anything else previously seen in this sector. Simplicity, directness and legibility were of utmost priority, as was keeping the vibrant and multifaceted spirit of New York City’s urban agriculture movement in everything that we did.
The fruits of our labor
Five Borough Farm provides the most comprehensive portrait of the city’s urban agriculture activity to date, providing a concise framework for understanding and measuring how urban agriculture contributes to the health, social, economic, and ecological well-being of the city. The first phase publication (and its companion website) released in July 2012 included the nation's first indicator guide for measuring the benefits of urban agriculture, along with a suite of maps, interviews, information graphics, and documentary photographs to back it all up. Two years later, the second phase publication was released, alongside the first draft of the field-tested data toolkit. The third and final publication was rolled out in 2015, accompanied by the release of a fully-functional urban agriculture Data Collection Toolkit – available as a PDF download and an interactive online platform.
Months after the release of the first publication, a total of nearly 1,000 physical and 300 digital copies of the book had been distributed, and the publication had received more international interest than was originally expected, with downloads from The Hague, Berlin, Vienna, Ireland, London, Oslo, Milan and Australia. The website had also garnered more than 37,000 page views with more than 9,000 unique visitors from 117 countries.