By Tyler Falk
Posting in Cities
San Francisco's new urban agriculture policy makes urban agriculture legal throughout the city, along with selling produce from the gardens.
That's because Mayor Ed Lee signed legislation yesterday that makes San Francisco's urban agriculture policy one of the most progressive in the U.S.
The legislation explicitly allows urban agriculture in all city zones. It also makes it legal for any garden to sell their produce on-site throughout the city. And it's now less of a financial burden to convert vacant lots to urban gardens because permit fees were lowered from $3000 to $300.
The ordinance, which also makes it possible for city-owned plots of less than 1 acre to be turned into urban gardens, makes San Francisco the first major American city to modify its planning code to allow such practices.
In describing the urban agricultural ordinance as "precedent-setting" and "smart legislation," the interim mayor hoped to send a message to future leaders of The City.
"We’ve got to break open these vacant lots, we’ve got to do something more with our land," Lee said.
Many of the urban ag projects in San Francisco are non-profit gardens that grow produce for public benefit. The new law will also have a positive impact on those projects. Civil Eats explains:
Should for-benefit (i.e. non-profit) farm projects seek to raise some of their operating funds through sales, including of value-added products, this will now be allowed. This could also open the door for social justice-minded urban farms to create truly green jobs without requiring so much grant funding.
Urban agriculture is a a good use of vacant urban land. But unfortunately many cities are silent on the issue, or at least restrict it to certain zones in the city. Outdated zoning ordinances can not only discourage new gardens, but dampen the entrepreneurial spirit in cities where there's a desire for fresh, local food. Fortunately San Francisco's new law sees past that and celebrates all forms of the urban agriculture -- from community gardens to market gardens.
Photo: ol slambert/Flickr
Apr 21, 2011
This is a great beginning, but there is more to be done. With coming changes in solar power, affordable hydroponics and soon-to-be affordable LED grow lights (that actually work well), there will be a major shift in the distribution of food (and some wealth and power), not to mention an enormous benefit in health (organics, ripening on the vine, no nasty chemical runoff, etc.). The key component after the politics, the lights, will create a new food revolution that can be duplicated just about anywhere in the world. Thankfully, we have some progressive leaders - kudos to the new mayor - who are focused on rationally solving problems, rather than worrying about the next election. That needs to continue! And, Tyler, after you spell-check, please re-read your work. No excuse for typos.
Please, let us easily email this article through yahoo. Davenport, Iowa has a worker who published a book on how to plant in the city. He does it himself. This could become a phenomenon of great proportion when people see how easy it is to convert what the city now mows, or fails to mow, that could be gardens. That simple to create jobs, healthy food, all that good stuff.