Many urban gardens and farms have been established to increase the access that vulnerable populations have to healthy food, and changes in climate are challenging food growth enterprises and community groups.
Across the Midwest, increased average precipitation during the winter and spring months and decreased average rainfall during summer and fall are causing problems for gardens and farms in cities and towns in addition to those in rural areas. The increased precipitation in the winter and spring floods fields and disrupts planting schedules. Decreased precipitation in the latter part of the year decreases growth rates and can lead to devastating droughts.
But precipitation isn’t the only impact in the Midwest. Growing seasons are lengthening as average temperatures increase. Longer warm seasons provide more time for pests and diseases to plague crops. Increased average temperatures also reduce crop weight and yield as plants respire more. In densely populated and developed areas, the urban heat island effect exacerbates these issues.