A large share of Berlin’s vegetable consumption can be produced within the city


Agriculture is a major sector responsible for greenhouse gas emissions. Local food production can contribute to reducing transport-related emissions. Since most of the worldwide population lives in cities, locally producing food implies practicing agriculture in urban and peri-urban areas. Exemplary, we analyze the potential to produce fresh vegetables within Berlin, Germany.

We investigate the spatial extent of five different urban spaces for soil-based agriculture or gardening, i.e., non-built residential areas, allotment gardens, rooftops, supermarket parking lots, and cemeteries. We also quantify inputs required for such food production in terms of water, human resources, and investment.

Our findings highlight that up to 82% of Berlin’s vegetable demand could be produced within the city, based on a reasonable validation of existing areas. Meeting this potential requires 42 km2 of urban spaces for cultivation, a considerable amount of irrigation water, around 17 thousand employees, and over 750 million EUR of initial investments.

The final vegetable cost would be around 2 EUR to 10 EUR per kg without any profit margin. We conclude that it is realistic to produce a significant amount of Berlin’s vegetable demand within the city, even if it comes with great challenges.

M. De Simone, P. Pradhan, J.P. Kropp, D. Rybski, A large share of Berlin’s vegetable consumption can be produced within the city, Sustainable Cities and Society (2022) 104362.