Sustainable agriculture in New York City
In New York City many low-income residents suffer from high rates of obesity and diabetes, limited sources of fresh produce (see food desert) and available, undeveloped land. The City and local nonprofit groups have been providing land, training and financial encouragement, but the impetus has in urban farming has come from the farmers, who often volunteer when their regular work day is done.
Some urban gardeners have used empty lots to start community or urban garden. However, the soil must be tested for heavy contamination in city soil because of vehicle exhaust and remnants of old construction. However, studies have found that such ground can be cultivated as long as the pH is kept neutral. The City also has a composting program, which is available to gardeners and farmers. One group, GreenThumb, provides free seedlings. Another program, the City Farms project operated by the nonprofit Just Food, offers courses on growing and selling food.