Simply turning a paved parking lot into an unpaved green space is a good thing for a city’s stormwater system. While a paved surface funnels rain water straight into the sewer (along with whatever toxins were on the pavement), the unpaved green space allows the water to percolate into the ground, thereby reducing the stress on the city’s water treatment system during a storm. An urban farm can do this especially well when its soil is full of the healthy root systems of growing plants. However, farms can also introduce their own pollutants into the water system in the form of fertilizers and eroded soil. Managing this is a job urban farmers need to take seriously.
This episode of Greater Yield visits Real Food Farm in Baltimore, MD and explores two of their innovative stormwater practices. As Baltimore City strives to reduce its impact on water quality in the Chesapeake Bay, projects like this offer an example of how urban farms can lend a hand.