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Indicator Guide

Indicators are signs of progress and change that result from an activity, project, or program. The indicator guide below— the first tool of its kind in the country— enables users to track activities across multiple farms and gardens to measure the health, social, economic, and ecological benefits of urban agriculture. The guide identifies important goals of urban agricultural activity (e.g. improve access to healthy food, increase physical activity, etc.) and recommends indicators (sales at farmers markets, number of person-hours spent working on the farm or garden) that farmers and gardeners can track to measure their impacts in reaching those goals.

Health

  • Improve access to healthy food for underserved communities
  • # (pounds) of food produced by the farm/garden
  • #, ($), % of the farmers market sales from food access programs
  • # of CSAs linked to the farm/garden
  • # of participants in CSAs linked to the farm/garden
  • #, % low income shares in CSAs linked to the farm/garden
  • Improve food-health literacy / skills / aspirations for underserved communities
  • # of people participating in farm/garden programs or activities reporting that they a) sometimes, b) very often, or c) always read food nutrition labels at the supermarket
  • # of people participating in farm/garden programs or activities that agree with the statement "I can change the things I eat"
  • Increasing healthy eating
  • # of participants in the farm/garden's health-related programs
  • # of healthy eating program strategies being implemented
  • #, % of healthy eating program participants meeting the Healthy People 2020 recommended servings of five fruits and vegetables per day
  • #, % of healthy eating program participants consuming a fruit and/or vegetable snack once per day
  • # of different vegetables eaten in the last 2 weeks by healthy eating program participants
  • #, % of healthy eating program participants consuming fast food once per week or less
  • #, % of healthy eating program participants that can identify where their food comes from (i.e. origin of food as plant-based)
  • Increasing physical activity
  • # of people engaged in farming/gardening on the farm/garden
  • # of total person-hours spent farming/gardening on the farm/garden per year
  • # (average) time spent farming/gardening among people who participate in programs or activities

Social

  • Social capital/connection
  • # of people participating in farm/garden programs or activities
  • # of total person-hours spent working on the farm/garden per year
  • # of farmer's markets in the farm/garden sells in
  • # ($) from urban agriculture-based farmers markets sales
  • % increase in urban agriculture-based farmers markets sales from prior year
  • community members' perceived benefits and concerns about urban agriculture
  • community perceptions of safety (personal safety, crime) in their community
  • Youth development
  • # of youth participating in the farm/garden
  • #, % of farm/garden programs that employ youth
  • # of total youth-person-hours spent working on the farm/garden per year
  • # of youth the farm/garden trained in job skills
  • #, % of youth who participated in a youth program that graduate from high school
  • #, % of youth who participated in a youth program that report high self esteem
  • #, % of youth who participated in a program reporting they have at least one good relationship with an adult other than their parent (mentor)
  • #, % of youth indicating positive attitude change and/or aspirations related to participating in youth-adult partnerships
  • #, 5 of youth who participated in a program reporting that they are/identify with being "part of their food community"
  • #, % of individuals reporting positive attitude and/or aspiration related to volunteering for civic activities, community service, and/or philanthropy
  • #, % of youth engaged in the political/governance process
  • Food access
  • # ($), % of sales from food access programs
  • # of CSAs linked to the farm/garden
  • # of participants in the CSA inked to the farm/garden
  • #, % of low income shares in the CSA inked to the farm/garden
  • # pounds of food produced by the farm/garden
  • # of people participating in the programs/activities that are growing food because they face food security issues
  • Age integrated spaces
  • # of participants over 65 years of age

Economic

  • Local and regional economic stimulation
  • $ total value of food produced
  • $ total value per square foot of produce
  • #, ($) total revenue generated from sales of food
  • % of total revenue generated from sales of regional produce
  • % of CSA sales from regional produce
  • # (hours) of volunteer-time contributed to the farm/garden
  • #, ($) from urban agriculture-based farmers market sales
  • % increase in urban agriculture-based farmers market sales from prior year
  • Job growth
  • # of people employed by the farm/garden
  • #, % of new jobs created by the farm/garden
  • Job readiness
  • # of people the farm/garden has trainted in job skills
  • # of youth the farm/garden trained in job skills
  • #, % of farm/garden programs that employ youth
  • Affordable healthy food
  • # ($), % of sales from food access programs

Ecological

  • Awareness of food systems ecology
  • # of school students participating in food system ecology programs

 

  • Stewardship
  • # of total participants in food system ecology programs
  • # (pounds) of food produced by the farm/garden
  • # (pounds) of food produced per square foot
  • community perceptions of the importance of urban agriculture as part of green/open space
  • Conservation
  • # (square footage) of rooftop area collected for rainwater harvesting
  • # ($) annual consumption of water use
  • # ($) annual consumption of energy
  • #, % (square footage) of land/lot that could potentially grow food
  • #, % (square footage) of land/lot actually used to grow food
  • # (pounds) of food waste processed (for compost)
  • Stormwater management
  • # (square footage) of permeable surface in the farm/garden
  • Soil improvement
  • # lead level in the farm/garden's soil per year
  • # (pounds) of compost produced/processed
  • Reducing food waste
  • # (pounds) of food waste collected
  • Habitat improvement / biodiversity / ecological connectivity
  • # of activities related to increased biodiversity
  • # of beehives that are part of the farm/garden
  • # of chickens that are part of the farm/garden
  • % of vegetation planted with native/heirloom varieties through the farm/garden
  • # of crops grown
  • % of produce grown (as measured by % of total weight) without use of synthetic pesticides
  • % of produce grown (as measured by % of total weight) without use of synthetic fertilizers
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