Catskills Regional Foodshed

Sullivan County Current Sullivan County farmland and products New York metro region foodshed Example long growing season
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Current Sullivan County farmland and products

This project is developed by the Urban Design Lab and a joint research seminar at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP).

In modern assessments of urban issues, understanding a city’s relationship with its supporting communities – those which provide workers, energy, water, food, supplies, and waste disposal – is a necessary precondition for designing sustainable urban systems. Perhaps nowhere is this more apparent than in the relationship of farms to their markets.

Research on local food systems frequently focuses on the wellbeing of the urban system and its residents; however, an often overlooked challenge is the continued health and vitality of the rural community. While urban residents may desire locally produced, accessible food, what additional advantages accrue to the farmer who chooses, and whose offspring choose, to continue to farm land approximate to metropolitan regions?

This project researches the future of agricultural production within the New York City region through the lens of a specific case study area in western Sullivan County within the Catskill watershed of the Upper Delaware River.

The completion of the project sees the successful publication of Ground Up: Cultivating Sustainable Agriculture in the Catskill Region. The report presents six specific case studies demonstrating that farmers who, through adjustment in production and adaptation to changing markets, have achieved a dynamic template for resource protection and viability.

Sponsors: Open Space Institute, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Watershed Agricultural Council, Upper Delaware Preservation Coalition