Written by Zuriel Galeno, Data Evaluation Intern
Urban agriculture offers many benefits such as improved food security and increased community engagement. However, it is important to look at the impact it has on water usage. At Each Green Corner, we recognize the significance of water conservation and strive to make that a priority at all our sites.
One method that Each Green Corner uses that both minimizes the amount of municipal water used and maximizes the use of water that comes from a natural resource that would otherwise be polluted and later drained out into local creeks and/or the ocean is called rainwater harvesting. With this method, using rain cisterns (rain barrels), we capture a portion of runoff rainwater from a roof, and that water is held until it is time to use it for irrigating the surrounding garden. By collecting this rainwater and using it for irrigation, we avoid having pollutants in the local creeks, and help to recharge the groundwater in the area.
To see how effective this method would be at preserving water, we looked at one of our sites, the Boys and Girls Club in Redwood City. We found that if we used just two of these rainwater harvesting systems at the site, we would reduce the amount of municipal water used at the site anywhere between 6,000 and 60,000 gallons a year.
Rainwater harvesting is one of the many methods that can be used in order to conserve as much water as possible, since it is a concern for many that urban agriculture can significantly impact water usage in cities. With sustainable practices like the one mentioned above, it allows for urban agriculture to thrive and continue to provide food security, a stronger community, and a greener environment.