ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – “Urban agriculture” may sound like a contradiction – however, it’s anything but. The practice of growing produce in urban areas is prevalent enough that the New York State Department of Agriculture is embarking on a study into how it works, and what it means for communities, in order to encourage the growth of more gardens into bloom.

The study will investigate several kinds of urban farming seen across New York. Those can include vertical farming, a practice that uses stacked racks to grow produce; as well as community gardens. The state is interested in what those farms do for the local food pool, job creation, education and the environment. Once the study concludes, recommendations will be given for future legislation and programs to carve out a future for city and community farming.

The department is working on the study in cooperation with Cornell Cooperative Extension, and the two groups want to hear from New York State communities already making strides and growing crops. Reports, recommendations, surveys and studies are welcome to be sent to yg88@cornell.edu.

A special working session will be held for stakeholders to tune into, whether they’re part of a community where urban farming already blossoms, or one interested in planting the first seeds. It can be joined virtually via WebEx by RSVPing to CommunityGardens.TaskForce@agriculture.ny.gov. For those able to travel, the in-person gathering will be held at 55 Hanson Place in Brooklyn.

The study is tied to commitments by Governor Kathy Hochul to increase the accessibility of local food for residents, especially those living in food deserts and other types of underserved communities. The state is running an Urban Farms and Community Gardens Grant Program as part of that effort.