In this week’s Field Report, we explore media coverage of a climate study on growing food in cities. Plus: food system impacts of the Key Bridge collapse, a new approach to rice farming, and more.

At the end of January, multiple publications including Modern Farmer and Bloomberg ran eye-catching stories on the results of a research study published in Nature. Forbes declared that, “Urban Farming Has a Shockingly High Climate Cost,” a headline that was outright wrong in terms of the study’s findings. Earth.com led with a single, out-of-context data point: “Urban agriculture’s carbon footprint is 6x greater than normal farms.”

On Instagram, urban farmers and gardeners began to express anger and frustration. Some commented on media company posts; others posted their own critiques. In February, students at the University of Michigan, where the study was conducted, organized a letter to the researchers pointing out issues with the study.

The issue most cited across critiques was simple: When urban farms were separated from community gardens in the study, the higher rate of greenhouse gas emissions reported essentially disappeared.

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