Evaluate the Potential Quantification of Community Garden Project Benefits
- Sustainable Communities & Climate Protection Program
- Sustainable Communities
- Policy & Research Briefs
- Project Solicitation
- Pre-Proposal FAQs
- Technical Feasibility, Cost-effectiveness, and Policy Strategies for Reducing Embodied Carbon in Building Materials
- White Paper: Toxic Air Contaminant Emissions from Fossil Gas Appliances in California
- Regional Propane and Woodburning Utilization in Commercial and Residential Buildings across California
- Impacts of Telecommuting and Remote Services on Transportation, Land Use, And Climate Change
- Sustainable Communities Strategies Evaluation Process Update
- Guidance and Best Practices for Development of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Vehicle Miles Traveled Mitigation Banks or Exchanges
- Developing an Equity Evaluation Framework for Place-Based, Community-Scale Mobility Investments
- Evaluate the Potential Quantification of Community Garden Project Benefits
- Quantification Methodology Development for Air Filtration, Microgrid, and Electric Bicycle Incentive Projects
- Housing Solutions for Climate and Equity
- Regional Plans & Evaluations
- Regional Plan Targets
- SB 150 Data Dashboard
- Active Transportation
The objective of this work is to conduct a literature review of the potential quantification of benefits from community gardens and develop recommendations for the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to consider for future development of quantification methods. CARB develops the quantification methodology for estimating greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions and other co-benefits from projects proposed for funding by California Climate Investments with monies from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF).
Several California Climate Investment programs have expressed interest in funding community gardens as a component of projects they fund. CARB currently does not have a quantification methodology for this type of project. This study will help CARB evaluate the feasibility of, and develop, if necessary, a quantification methodology for the benefits of community garden projects.
Under California’s Cap-and-Trade program, the State’s portion of the proceeds from Cap-and-Trade auctions is deposited in the GGRF. The Legislature and Governor enact budget appropriations from the GGRF for State agencies to invest in projects that help achieve the State’s climate goals. These investments are collectively called California Climate Investments.
Senate Bill (SB) 862 Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review, Chapter 36, Statutes of 2014 requires CARB to develop guidance on reporting and quantification methods for all State agencies that receive appropriations from the GGRF. Guidance includes developing quantification methodologies for estimating GHG emission reductions and other social, economic, and environmental benefits of projects, referred to as “co-benefits.” CARB develops quantification methodologies to provide project-level GHG emission or co-benefit estimates that are supported by empirical literature. This work relies on a review of the available science, coordination with the administering agencies, and outside experts and academic partners to obtain technical assistance and expertise, as needed.
CARB staff periodically reviews each quantification methodology and benefits calculator tool to evaluate their effectiveness and update methodologies to make them more robust, user-friendly, and appropriate to the projects being quantified. CARB may review and update GHG quantification methodologies and co-benefit assessment methodologies based on: new or evolving project types; new legislation; available resources; new scientific developments or tools, or modifications in the analytical tools or approaches upon which the methodologies were based; or input from administering agencies or the public.
Throughout California, black and brown communities are disproportionately located in areas lacking access to grocery stores and green space. Systemic racism in the US perpetuates a wealth gap that persists to this day, reducing the generational wealth and local government revenues for public infrastructure for these communities. CARB is particularly interested in urban gardening as a mechanism to improve mental and physical health in black and brown communities that are disproportionately located in food deserts with lack of access to green space to help advance racial equity in this space. Community-scale gardens also may be able to play a role to address food security impacting rural communities.
There is some evidence that community gardens may reduce GHG emission and improve resiliency in vulnerable communities. Community gardens may include installation of new plants and trees, cultivating local food for local consumption, and on-site composting, among other components. This work must build upon existing published literature along with existing tools and resources to identify and pursue development of methodology to quantify the GHG emission reduction, carbon sequestration, and other potential environmental, economic, and public health co-benefits from the implementation of urban garden projects. The study will combine existing resources and new analyses to assemble a proposal for an evidence-based approach to support providing incentives for community garden projects. The results of the study will be used to inform the potential development of support tools to quantify the benefits from California Climate Investments projects.
III. Scope of Work
Note: All meetings and interviews referenced are assumed to be virtual unless otherwise agreed upon by both Contractor and CARB project manager.
This project will investigate the current understanding of the benefits of community gardens in a context of climate mitigation and community resiliency. The contractor will engage communities throughout the process to understand the needs, benefits, and implementation of community garden projects.
This project will examine the following questions:
- Clear definition of a community garden as a project:
- What practices are considered community gardening?
- What is the variability in the scale of these projects?
- Potential benefits of community gardens:
- What is the potential for community gardens to reduce GHG emissions:
- Does local food production reduce vehicle travel for food procurement and food delivery?
- What impact does small-scale project development have on travel demand and construction needs?
- Do community gardens measurably increase carbon sequestration in soils?
- Does local food production and consumption impact food waste reduction and associated methane emission?
- What are the potential benefits of community gardens for advancing social and racial equity in urban and rural disadvantaged communities?
- Are there other benefits that could accrue from community gardens?
- Does consumption of locally-produced food improve physical health?
- Does local food production result in cost savings for local residents?
- What is the potential for community gardens to reduce GHG emissions:
The contractor will utilize existing resources and new analyses to develop a proposal for pathways to support providing incentives for community garden projects based on their contribution toward the State’s climate and resiliency goals.
Task 1 – Kick-off Meeting
At the beginning of the project, a kick-off meeting will be held with CARB staff, to discuss the details of the project, including a review of CARB’s policy goals and the contractor’s proposed timeline for deliverables.
Task 2 – Literature Review
Produce a report detailing current scholarship on community gardens, including potential impacts to climate change mitigation and resiliency to the impacts of climate change, as well as economic analyses of potential health and cost savings associated with community gardens. The literature review must be compiled into an interim report as described in Task 6.
Task 3 – Community Experiences Review
The contractor shall conduct outreach to communities, including residents, community-based organizations, nonprofits, and local leaders, to better understand the on-the-ground realities of community garden projects and its benefits. The contractor must connect with communities that implement existing community garden projects and communities who are in need of community garden projects to understand the benefits of these projects to their direct participants and local community. Community needs and experiences will help better understand how these projects are and will be used when implemented. When identifying communities and individuals for outreach:
- The communities must include at least one of each of the following: disadvantaged community, low-income community, rural community, and tribal community.
- Prioritize communities that are in food deserts or have lack of access to green space (e.g., distance to grocery store, distance to green space)
- Consider partnering with leaders in the community gardening space.
- Connect with existing California Climate Investments projects that include a community garden component.
- Review CARB’s Community Connections database for organizations focused on urban greening or community composting as potential thought partners.
The contractor will iterate with CARB on a plan for outreach and selection of communities and individuals as part of this Task.
Task 4 – Evaluate existing methods or suitable new methods for quantification
The contractors will evaluate any existing methods for calculating GHG emission reduction estimates from community garden projects. The contractors will evaluate alternate methods and data sources to calculate any relevant metrics needed to determine climate and related benefits.
Task 5 – Recommendations
Based on the results of the literature review and community engagement and in consultation with CARB staff, the contractor will develop recommendations on the feasibility of developing a quantification methodology and benefit calculator tool for community garden projects, and if so, will suggest appropriate methods to do so. The contractor should also specify the need for any additional research or demonstration projects to better address existing gaps in our understanding around community garden benefits.
Task 6 – Reports
The contractor shall develop two reports throughout the project. An interim report shall be completed soon after the literature review with a summary of results. The interim report will be presented to CARB staff to help guide community engagement processes and to ensure that the final report include relevant recommendations. The final report will synthesize results from the literature review and community engagement and will address the research questions listed in scope of work summary above. The final report will, in plain language, summarize findings and provide the following:
- Explain the potential for community garden projects to accelerate progress toward State goals including GHG emission reductions, community resilience, and equitable outcomes.
- Summarize the identified need and barriers from the community experience review.
- Provide an overview of methods available to quantify the benefits of community garden projects.
- Describe methodologies, data analysis, and processes employed in the completion of the work.
- Summarize the recommended approaches for supporting the climate and resiliency benefits aspects of community garden incentives.
The final report shall be provided to all partners, including the communities that participated in Task 3.
Task 7 – Communication
The contractors will schedule virtual informal monthly check in meetings with CARB staff as well as virtual quarterly progress meetings and reports. The contractors will propose a timeline for CARB staff to review written deliverables.
The project pre-proposal must address, at minimum, the following deliverables:
During Active Contract Period
- Work with CARB staff at the beginning of the project to create a 1-page plain-language outreach deliverable for the public describing the project’s goals, process, and planned deliverables (available in multiple languages, template will be provided).
- Quarterly Progress Reports including public-facing updates may be posted to CARB’s website.
- Quarterly Progress Meetings.
- Informal monthly progress update meetings with CARB contract manager.
Prior to Contract Close
- Interim Report (including Literature Review and Community Experience Review)
- Final Report
- Presentation summarizing findings (may be public)
- Additional deliverables to be determined in consultation with CARB staff.
V. Timeline and Budget
It is anticipated that this project will be completed no later than 18 months from the start date. The estimated budget for this project is between to $100,000 and $200,000. Pre-proposals should provide an estimated budget for full or partial completion of the scope of work.
1. Responsiveness to the goals and objectives outlined in the pre-proposal solicitation (20 points)
The pre-proposal should explain—in adequate detail and clear, understandable language—how the proposed project satisfies the project objectives.
2. Policy relevance/benefits to the state (5 points)
The proposal should explain how the proposed project is relevant to and provides benefits to the state. The deliverables of the research should emphasize practical and implementable findings and recommendations, with have direct applicability to State agencies with clear and specific options for next steps and implementation. Reviewers will assess if the proposal describes how the project will provide data, information, and/or products to CARB, and how those project outputs will help CARB accomplish its mission.
3. Work experience and subject matter expertise (30 points)
The proposal should demonstrate that the proposers have the work experience or subject matter expertise required to successfully carry out the proposed project as described. Additionally, the proposal should describe how the project will build upon previous relevant work that was funded by CARB and other regional, state, and federal agencies.
4. Expanding expertise (10 points)
The proposal should explain how the project team expands expertise such as by incorporating multidisciplinary expertise or perspectives, including members from various public universities, non-academic institutions, and/or community-based organizations, or providing opportunities to build skills and expertise for individuals from underrepresented groups. Reviewers will consider if key personnel contributing significantly to the project (i.e., a principal investigator, co-principal investigator or co-investigator, contributing 25 percent or more of their time to the project) have not worked with CARB in the past five years.
5. Explanation of technical or methodological approach (20 points)
The proposal should clearly explain the logic and feasibility of the project’s methodology, spell out the sequence and relationships of major tasks, and explain methods for performing the work. The proposal should include a clear description and plan for how each task will be completed.
6. Level and quality of effort and cost effectiveness (15 points)
The proposal should describe how time and resources will be allocated and demonstrate how this allocation ensures the project’s success. Proposal reviewers will evaluate, for example: if the objectives of the project can be met given this allocation, if there is adequate supervision and oversight to ensure that the project will remain on schedule, if time and cost are appropriately allocated across different project tasks and stages.