NPR’s The Salt recently took a look at Chicago and the many “hidden farms” that can be found on rooftops around the city.
Researcher John Taylor from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign spent 400 hours over the course of eight months researching these gardens to determine where the gardens were and which ones were actually producing food. The result was a total of 4,648 sites, covering more than 65 total acres.
“Urban agriculture is sometimes thought of as something new and trendy, but of course people have been growing food in backyards and on vacant land for generations,” Taylor says. “From a planning and policy perspective, we have to consider food production at multiple scales.” Taylor’s data is helping another effort aimed at documenting all of the city’s agricultural sites: the Chicago Urban Agriculture Mapping Project.
You can read more for yourself by checking out the full article on the NPR site. I was able to track down the screenshot above by finding it via the story, and you can view that area for yourself in Google Earth by loading this KML file.