Theresa Isemann



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Due to the accelerated timeline of having under ten years to reduce anthropogenic sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the next generation of climate change solutions will require hybrid strategies that both adjust to the consequences of inevitable climate changes (adaptation) and abate emissions to prevent intensifying future changes (mitigation). Humans will need to rethink the designs of large GHG-intensive systems, including the conventional food system that is currently GHG intensive, vulnerable to climate risks, and ecologically destructive to local ecosystems. This research begins to explore the role of urban farms in acting as a hybrid mitigation and adaptation strategy to climate risks. The potential of urban agriculture to act as a hybrid strategy is contingent on the farm’s ability to act as a net sink of emissions, while ensuring food security and economic viability. This research aims to be the first to quantify the GHG emissions, in terms of carbon equivalency, of all operational processes of a local urban farm in the Midwest region of the United States. A focus on the role of renewable energy in unlocking the carbon sink potential showcases the significance in abating emissions from electricity and heating/cooling needs. This work lays the foundation for the next step, in which an optimization model will be developed to adjust operational processes for optimal carbon storage. The timing of this research is critical as the Miami Valley region builds capacity to scale urban agriculture to better ensure climate resilience in the face of changing growing seasons and other climate-related threats to agricultural yields. Understanding the advantages of a carbon sink design in the context of local and regional benefits can effectively inform future urban farm designs.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Graduate Research

Primary Advisor

Felix Fernando, Kevin P. Hallinan

Primary Advisor's Department

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Stander Symposium project, School of Engineering

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Climate Action; Sustainable Cities and Communities

GHG Inventory for Local Urban Farm Shows Promise for Carbon Sink Capabilities