UNIVERSITY OF CALIFONIA Santa BarbaraDEVELOPING A PLANNING FRAMEWORK FOR ACCESSIBLE AND SUSTAINED URBAN AGRICULTURE IN U.S. CITIES Prepared by: Jennifer Verhines June 1, 2011 Thesis Advisor: Paul Wack Lecturer, UCSB
ABSTRACT Developing a Planning Framework for Accessible and Sustained Urban Agriculture in U.S. Cities by Jennifer Verhines Food insecurity threatens communities across the United States, characterized byenvironmental degradation, decreasing agricultural land, rising social inequities, skewedcommunities, and public health issues. Urban agriculture provides an opportunity to counteractfood system problems and empower individuals. Urban agriculture is broadly defined as foodproduction in urban spaces. Despite its benefits, urban agriculture is threatened by institutionalbarriers. Urban agriculture is not fully supported by municipal laws and policies, making itvulnerable and impermanent. Therefore, developing and implementing planning policies, laws,and programs to support urban agriculture will establish its practices and support its benefits. Research focuses on broad policies, comprehensive plans, zoning ordinances, andorganizational infrastructure. Samples are drawn from cities across the United States, includingSan Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Cleveland, Seattle, and Chicago. Discussion, comparison, andevaluation are based on public input and comment. Because of the very recent and ongoingnature of urban agriculture planning measures, discussed policies, laws, and programs aresometimes incomplete or in the process of being adopted. This thesis establishes opportunities, examples, and boundaries for developing an urbanagriculture planning framework and potential nationwide municipal application.Key Words: urban agriculture, urban food system, planning, comprehensive plan, zoningordinance ii
Acknowledgments As a food-lover and descendent of family farmers, I have always been interested in thehows and whys of agriculture. However, my curiosity in the political, social, economic, and legalaspects of food production has only been recently spurred. Last spring, a lecture in Paul Wack’sAdvanced Environmental Planning course prompted my attention to urban planning as it relatesto food. Once I began taking David Cleveland’s World Agriculture course, I was immersed. Since then, I have attended discussions put on by UCSB’s Food Studies Research FocusGroup (part of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center), heard from researchers at OccidentalCollege’s Urban and Environmental Policy Institute, viewed Scott Hamilton Kennedy’s TheGarden, and delved into the unsettling and controversial disbanding of the South Central Farm inLos Angeles. Just as I searched for answers to the questions posed by peers, academics, andaffected peoples, I hope my research provides a space for others to expand their knowledge,interest – and curiosity in the simultaneous simplicities and complexities that define urbanagriculture. iii
Table of ContentsAcknowledgments........................................................................................................................................ iii1.0 Urban Food Systems ............................................................................................................................... 1 1.1 Introduction to the Problem ................................................................................................................ 1 1.2 Urban Agriculture as a Solution ......................................................................................................... 6 1.3 Barriers to Urban Agriculture ............................................................................................................. 82.0 Elements of a Planning Framework for Urban Agriculture .................................................................. 11 2.1 Broad Policies for Planners .............................................................................................................. 11 2.2 Comprehensive Plans ....................................................................................................................... 12 2.3 Zoning Ordinances ........................................................................................................................... 16 2.4 Organizational Infrastructure ............................................................................................................ 273.0 Assessing Framework Feasibility ......................................................................................................... 33 3.1 Challenges to Implementation .......................................................................................................... 33 3.2 Conclusion ........................................................................................................................................ 34References ................................................................................................................................................... 36Appendix A ............................................................................................................................................... A-1Appendix B ............................................................................................................................................... B-1Appendix C ............................................................................................................................................... C-1Appendix D ............................................................................................................................................... D-1Appendix E ............................................................................................................................................... E-1 iv
11.0 Urban Food Systems1.1 Introduction to the Problem Urban food systems consist of food policies, production, processing, distribution,consumption, and waste, in the presence of economic, political, and physical infrastructure.These systems are categorized at the local, regional, even global level. Ultimately, urban foodsystems aim to provide city inhabitants with nourishment and nutrition. From farms tosupermarkets, establishments that make up urban food systems are responsible for feedingpeople. Yet serious problems plague urban food systems across the United States. Many cities,especially those characterized by underserved poor areas, are plagued by food insecurity.According to the Centre for Food Security Studies, food security is defined by five indicators:availability, accessibility, adequacy, acceptability, and agency.1 Further, community foodsecurity is defined as a “condition in which all community residents obtain a safe, culturallyacceptable, nutritionally adequate diet through a sustainable food system that maximizescommunity self-reliance, social justice, and democratic decision-making.”21 Ryerson University Centre for Studies in Food Security. “Food Security Defined.” Accessed April 18, 2011.http://www.ryerson.ca/foodsecurity/definition/2 Michael Hamm and Anne Bellows. “Community Food Security and Nutrition Educators.” Journal of NutritionEducation and Behavior 35 (2003).
2 Emerging agricultural trends shape food insecurity within urban food systems at thecommunity level and beyond. Farmland is rapidly decreasing, especially in urban areas. Smallfarms (between 50-500 acres) have decreased by 7 percent, smaller farms (500-1000 acres) havedecreased by 11 percent, while large farms over 2,000 acres have increased by 5 percent. Asfarm owners age and younger generations assume different careers, traditional family farms arelost, converted, or consolidated.3 According to the American Farmland Trust, United States farmland is decreasing by 1acre per minute. The major loss in prime farmland over the past 25 years is attributed todevelopment and conversion of farmland. For example, over 4 million acres of agricultural land(near the size of Massachusetts) was converted between 2002 and 2007 to accommodate sprawl-style development.4 Today, people largely obtain their food from industrial, globalized sources that arecharacterized by hybrid (and TGV) crop varieties, genetic uniformity, privatization/patentedrights, and mechanized practices. However, industrial agriculture has severe environmental,social, and economic consequences. It depletes natural resources, destroys soil structure andlong-term stability, weakens crop resistance to pests and disease, produces excessive wasteproduct, pollutes waterways, threatens native/ancient plant species and biodiversity, and relies onheavy chemical use. Socially, industrial agriculture reduces purchasing power and economic3 American Planning Association. “Policy Guide on Community and Regional Food Planning.” (2007): 4.4 American Farmland Trust. “Farming on the Edge Report.” Accessed April 18, 2011.http://www.farmland.org/resources/fote/default.asp
3opportunities within local communities, and relies on exploitative labor. It also destroys culinarytraditions and cultural identities passed along many generations. As a whole, the inequity andirresponsibility inherent in industrial agriculture, accompanied by lacking policy measures,impairs quality food access across large factions of the United States population. In recent years, consequential health issues have also become more apparent. Accordingto a report released by the Community Food Security Coalition, “federal farm policy since the1950s has encouraged the overproduction…of a few commodities such as corn and soybeans, allwith serious implications for farmers, rural and urban communities, and the health of consumers.Support for fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, has been low.”5 The products available tothe public are wholly unhealthy. As a result, people are provided with poor food from a youngage. They consume excessive saturated fats, sodium, and sugar, and lack sufficient portions offruit, whole grains, vegetable, and legumes.6 Food insecurity specifically affects minority groups. “People who are living in povertyare likely also to experience food insecurity: children, inner-city residents, single parent female-headed households, people of color, people living with disabilities, the elderly, and farmworkers.”7 In a 2001 report, Robert Pederson of the Danish Cancer Society and AileenRobertson of the World Health Organization state that “supermarkets are increasingly built on5 American Planning Association. “Policy Guide on Community and Regional Food Planning.” (2007): 4.6 USDA Nutrition Insight. “The Quality of Children’s Diets in 2003-04 as Measured by the Healthy Eating Index-2005.” (2009): 2.7 CFSC Urban Agriculture Committee. “Urban Agriculture and Community Food Security in the United States:Farming from the City Center to the Urban Fringe.” Accessed April 18, 2011.http://www.foodsecurity.org/urbanag.html#intro
4the periphery of cities making regular access, especially for vulnerable groups such as the elderlyor disabled, difficult.”8 Many vulnerable individuals are also without the sufficienttransportation (automobile or public transportation) needed to reach healthy food retailers.Therefore, poor inner-city residents often lack reasonable means for nutrition. Inadequate access to healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate food plagues low-income, minority, urban neighborhoods nationwide. As a result, residents in these communitiesare forced to purchase their food at unhealthy retailers such as fast food chains, liquor stores, andconvenience markets. Not only do these outlets offer less healthy food options, but they are alsomore expensive. A study conducted by Kami Pothukuchi at Wayne State University in 2001surveyed Detroit grocery stores and found that those in downtown, low-income areas were 10percent more expensive. Those same stores also carried a limited assortment of healthy foodoptions.9 As stated in a report by the Community Food Security Coalition, “low-incomeconsumers have less food shopping choices than middle-income consumers across the country:they have fewer retail options, limited transportation options, and often face higher prices atchain supermarkets.”10 Regions devoid of healthy, affordable, and fresh food vendors are labeled as food deserts.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines food deserts as “areas that lack access toaffordable fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk, and other foods that make up the full8 Robert M. Pederson and Aileen Robertson. “Food Policies are Essential for Healthy Cities.” UA Magazine, March2001, 10.9 Kami Pothukuchi. “Personal Communication.” Wayne State University (2001).10 CFSC. “Andy Fisher, Hot Peppers & Parking Lot Peaches: Evaluating Farmers’ Markets In Low-IncomeCommunities.” (1999): 6.
5range of a healthy diet.”11 As a result, people in these areas have higher incidences of healthproblems than the greater population, including disease, malnutrition, obesity, and developmentissues. “The U.S. Department of Agricultures Economic Research Service (2006) reports that in2005, 11 percent of all U.S. households were "food insecure" because of a lack of sufficientfood. Black (22.4 percent) and Hispanic (17.9 percent) households experienced food insecurity atfar higher rates than the national average.”12 National food assistance programs, such as food stamp initiatives and school lunches,exist to help feed people. However, these programs often fail to take into account the quality offood provided. The USDA’s nutritional Recommended Daily Allowances and ethnically-basedfood pyramids, for example, do not correlate with the food provided by assistance programs,which are generally unhealthy, highly sweetened, and lack produce, lean protein, and heartygrains.13 Aside from purely health-related concerns, restricted access to food choices reducespeoples’ sovereignty. While affluent individuals in food-secure neighborhoods are able to accessfood of their choice, individuals in food insecure neighborhoods lack access to foods that arehealthy and culturally-ethnically appropriate. These social limitations reflect the injusticepresent in urban food systems. Therefore, current agricultural practices and trends suggest that11 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Food Deserts.” Accessed April 18, 2011.http://www.cdc.gov/features/fooddeserts/12 American Planning Association. “Policy Guide on Community and Regional Food Planning.” (2007): 6.13 USDA National Agricultural Library. “Dietary Guidance: Ethnic/Cultural Food Guide Pyramid.” Accessed April 18,2011.http://riley.nal.usda.gov/nal_display/index.php?info_center=4&tax_level=3&tax_subject=256&topic_id=1348&level3_id=5732&level4_id=0&level5_id=0&placement_default=0
6alternative outlets for food production are necessary – especially those close to urbanpopulations.1.2 Urban Agriculture as a Solution Urban agriculture provides an opportunity to address, counterbalance, and solve issuesassociated with urban food systems, as well as empower individuals with regards to their foodsources. According to the Resource Centre on Urban Agriculture and Food Security (RUAF),urban agriculture is “the growing of plants and the raising of animals within and around cities” inrelation to urban economies, environments, and traditionally underserved people within thepopulation.14 With contemporary roots in World War II Victory Gardens of the 1940s, urbanagriculture now includes residential plots, rooftop gardens, food production in various public andprivate spaces (including residential lots, lawns, rooftops, schools, parks, and abandoned lots),community gardens, community supported agriculture (CSAs) on the urban periphery, andproduce stands and farmers markets that support these mechanisms. People can grow fruits,vegetables, medicinal plants, and herbs, or raise animals such as chickens, goats, bees, and otherlivestock. Urban agriculture provides a multitude of socially progressive benefits and empowersdisenfranchised people to fight negative trends in their neighborhood: alleviating poverty andeasing financial strains, building local economies, encouraging healthy eating choices, building14 Resources Centres on Urban Agriculture & Food Security. “What is Urban Agriculture?” Accessed April 18, 2011.http://www.ruaf.org/node/512
7nutritional knowledge, providing recreational and exercise opportunities, beautifying industriallandscapes, and reinforcing community values.15 Moreover, urban agriculture shifts power awayfrom the fast food retailers and industrial producers that contribute to food deserts and poorhealth. Discussing the South Central Farm in Los Angeles, Clara Irazabal, Assistant Professor ofUrban Planning at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at ColumbiaUniversity, and Anita Punja of the University of Southern California, state that urban agriculturesucceeds in “building ethnic landscape” by providing “a medium to preserve and recreatecommunity traditions of agriculture and heirloom seeds, survival strategies of indigenouscultural…as well as farmers’ ability to pass on their living traditions to their children.” 16 Thus,urban agriculture is important for providing poor, often immigrant communities with a space topreserve cultural traditions while producing healthy food. Drawn from interviews conducted with Philadelphia community gardeners, other benefitsinclude recreation, mental and physical health, intergenerational interaction, civic engagement,reduced crime/vandalism, produce quality and nutrition, spirituality, cost-saving andconvenience, self-expression and self-fulfillment. “Green space creates a place for socialgathering, creates a sense of community and has been found to reduce stress, anger and even15 Anne Bellows, Katherine Brown, and Jac Smit, “Health Benefits of Urban Agriculture.” (2003): 1-12.16 Clara Irazabal and Anita Punja, “Cultivating Just Planning and Legal Institutions: A Critical Assessment of theSouth Central Farm Struggle in Los Angeles.” Journal of Urban Affairs 31 (2009): 10.
8blood pressure.” 17 In essence, urban agriculture serves as a medium for community members toaddress food injustice and insecurity through independent production, community building, andautonomous decision-making. By empowering people at personal and local levels, urbanagriculture contributes to healthier urban food systems.1.3 Barriers to Urban Agriculture Despite its benefits, urban agriculture is threatened by institutional barriers. Specifically,the spaces and practices that define urban agriculture foster associations with temporary use andimpermanency – making them provisional and replaceable resources. This mindset ignores thehuman labor and investment needed to create agricultural spaces; framing community gardens asvacant, potentially developable sites.18 People’s personal, economic, and time-consuminginvestments in food production are vulnerable when urban agriculture practices are not fullysupported by laws and policies. When urban agriculture is not considered a best practice – the highest and best use for thespace – the land it occupies is consequently prone to alternative development. Thus, theperceived illegitimacy of urban farming in planning contexts hinders urban agriculture efforts.19Lawson (2007) states that a community farm “may have an aura of permanence, yet the17 CFSC Urban Agriculture Committee. “Urban Agriculture and Community Food Security in the United States:Farming from the City Center to the Urban Fringe.” (2003): 10.18 Lawson. “The South Central Farm: Dilemmas in Practicing the Public,” 611.19 Laura Lawson. “The South Central Farm: Dilemmas in Practicing the Public.” Cultural Geographies 14 (2007): 611-616.
9determining factor is not use but potential land use and ownership.”20 Although a site’sagricultural benefits may be well received, its potential use as an industrial, commercial, orresidential space is ultimately more profitable and therefore compelling. The proliferatedillegitimacy of “user-initiated spaces”21 like community farms reinforces unjust planning policiesand laws. By failing to implement planning policies for urban agriculture, cities benefit fromthese farm sites for their scenic, recreation, and open space qualities without having the politicaland financial responsibilities of legally incorporating them. The South Central Farm in Los Angeles accurately depicts the imperfections of legal andplanning institutions with regard to urban agriculture. Initiated in 1994 by the Los AngelesRegional Food Bank, the South Central Farm provided immeasurable sustenance, economic,social, and beautifying qualities to the poor, foodless Los Angeles neighborhood. Despite 14years of occupancy, hard work, and familial-like interdependency, dozens of Latino familieswere evicted from the 350-plot farm in 2006. The 14-acre space allocated to the communityfarm, acquired 20 years earlier through eminent domain, provided the community resources andopportunities they could not acquire elsewhere. The eviction was approved by the LA CityCouncil in a closed session following an out-of-court settlement with the original land owner,who claimed a violation of his rights. Farmers, community members, and general supportersfought the decision through protesting, fundraising, and finally civil disobedience, until theywere physically removed from the site for bulldozing. This instance clearly demonstrates that20 Lawson. “The South Central Farm: Dilemmas in Practicing the Public,” 614.21 Lawson. “The South Central Farm: Dilemmas in Practicing the Public,” 611-616.
10protections must be put in place to guard vulnerable individuals who experience what Irazabal &Punja (2009) call “socially constructed disadvantage and lack decision-making power andcontrol over their city spaces.”22 The questions, contention, and suspected corruption that surround the South CentralFarm exemplify the entrenched inequities in United States planning policies, as well as lackinglegal support for urban agriculture. Serious problems with urban agriculture practices – andurban food systems at large – therefore call for implementation of comprehensive planningmeasures. “Planners play an important role in assessing existing food access disparities, shapingthe food environment of communities, and facilitating healthy eating.”23 Ultimately, plannersare responsible for legitimizing urban agriculture. “Strategies to secure user-initiated spaces likecommunity gardens require shifting public perception from appropriated space to validatedpublic resource.”24 I suggest that developing and implementing a planning framework (policies, laws, andprograms) for urban agriculture will help alleviate food insecurity issues, enhance localcommunities, and ensure sustained and permanent practices. In the following I will analyzevarious elements and approaches to planning for urban agriculture, how they have and aredeveloping, and community responses and criticism.22 Clara Irazabal and Anita Punja, “Cultivating Just Planning and Legal Institutions: A Critical Assessment of theSouth Central Farm Struggle in Los Angeles.” Journal of Urban Affairs 31 (2009): 5.23 American Planning Association. “Planning and Community Health Research Center.” Accessed April 18, 2011.http://www.planning.org/nationalcenters/health/food.htm24 Laura Lawson. “The South Central Farm: Dilemmas in Practicing the Public.” Cultural Geographies 14 (2007): 611.
112.0 Elements of a Planning Framework for Urban Agriculture This document outlines four areas within the planning framework: broad policies forplanners, comprehensive plans, zoning ordinances, and organizational infrastructure.2.1 Broad Policies for Planners While various stakeholders affect the decision-making process, planners ultimatelydelineate the planning policies that direct the technical and legal aspects of urban agriculture.The American Planning Association’s Policy Guide on community and regional food planningoutlines seven broad policies for planners: 1. Support comprehensive food planning process at the community and regional levels; 2. Support strengthening the local and regional economy by promoting local and regional food systems; 3. Support food systems that improve the health of the regions residents; 4. Support food systems that are ecologically sustainable; 5. Support food systems that are equitable and just; 6. Support food systems that preserve and sustain diverse traditional food cultures of Native American and other ethnic minority communities; 7. Support the development of state and federal legislation to facilitate community and regional food 25 planning discussed in general policies 1 through 6. Existing restrictions often limit food production in residential and/or urban spaces.Lacking protection in comprehensive plans and zoning ordinances makes urban agriculturevulnerable, illegal, or displaceable in urban environments. Therefore, planners’ standards mustbe adapted to community needs for urban agriculture.25 American Planning Association. “Policy Guide on Community and Regional Food Planning.” (2007): 2.
122.2 Comprehensive Plans Comprehensive Plans (also known as General, Master, Community, or Area Plans)establish municipalities’ planning policies, elements, and long-term development goals. Thedocument must be internally consistent, in compliance with state laws, relevant, and current. InCalifornia, for example, municipalities are required to incorporate seven elements into theirgeneral plan: land use, circulation, housing, conservation, open space, noise, and safety. Eachelement defines specific goals and objectives for that area of interest, and outlines the policiesand actions necessary to enact them. Aside from these required sections, cities and counties maychoose to add elements they deem appropriate for their constituents. Optional elements mayinclude parks and recreation, design, historic preservation, environmental management, oragriculture.26 Accordingly, comprehensive plans have the ability to support and protect urbanagriculture through policy inclusion. By devising an urban agriculture focused element orincorporating urban agriculture into an existing element (i.e. agriculture, open space, parks andrecreation, environmental management, etc.), municipalities have the opportunity to establish,enable, and sustain urban agriculture. Many cities across the country have already incorporatedurban agriculture into their comprehensive plans. However, the depth and scope of policy goalsand objectives vary greatly between different cities.26 William Fulton and Paul Shigley, Guide to California Planning (Point Arena, CA: Solano Press Books, 2005), 103-125.
13 The City of Berkeley outlines simplistic policies for its community garden program inboth the Environmental Management Element (Policy EM-34 Local Food Systems) and theOpen Space and Recreation Element (Policy OS-8 Community Gardens) sections of the generalplan. Although the proposed actions are brief and encourage positive initiatives, they fail toaddress how policies will be carried out. From a planning point of view, broad encourage andpromote statements lack tangible deadlines, goals, and means for achievement. While suchstatements are common among comprehensive plan policies, they are lofty without moresubstantive information. For instance, EM-34 Local Food Systems states: “Promote seeddistribution, lead testing, and composting programs for community gardens.”27 This point listsgoals broad in scope, but fails to recommend how they will be achieved. Missing reasoningbehind the infrastructure, finances, physical resources, outreach schemes, and processes fordeveloping partnerships between organizations, Berkeley’s policies are more idealistic thanimplementable. EM-34 Local Food Systems Increase access to healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate foods for the people of Berkeley by supporting efforts to build more complete and sustainable local food production and distribution systems. (Also see Open Space and Recreation Policy OS-8.) Actions: A. Encourage efforts by the Berkeley Unified School District, the University of California, and other institutions to provide training and instruction in food and plant production. B. Support community outreach and education to strengthen organic sustainable food systems in the city and the region.27 City of Berkeley Planning & Development. “Open Space and Recreation Element.” Accessed April 18, 2011.http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/contentdisplay.aspx?id=494
14 C. Promote the purchase of food from local producers for schools, senior centers, after-school programs, food provision programs, and other social programs. Encourage the donation of fresh produce from community gardens to local food programs. D. Continue to make the City’s composted waste available to community and school gardens. E. Promote seed distribution, lead testing, and composting programs for community gardens. F. Provide sites for local farmers’ markets and community gardens. G. Encourage buildings that incorporate rooftop gardens that may be used for gardening. H. Encourage neighborhood initiatives to grow native and fruit-bearing trees. Policy OS-8 Community Gardens Encourage and support community gardens as important open space resources that build communities and provide a local food source. (Also see Environmental Management Policy EM-34.) Actions: A. Encourage neighborhood groups to organize, design, and manage community gardens particularly where space is available that is not suitable for housing, parks, pathways, or recreation facilities. Ensure that garden plots are allocated according to a fair and equitable formula. B. Require all publicly subsidized community gardens to maintain regular "open to the public" hours. C. Include community gardens in the planning for the Santa Fe Right-of-Way. D. Pursue community gardens in high-density areas with little private open space suitable for gardening. E. Increase support for community gardens through partnerships with other government agencies, particularly the Berkeley Unified School District, neighborhood groups, businesses, and civic and gardening organizations. 28 F. Support school-based gardens and the involvement of youth in growing and preparing their own food. In contrast, Boston’s Parks and Recreation Department developed an extremely detailedOpen Space Plan (2002-2006) that contains a Community Gardens section. The Open SpacePlan includes comprehensive goals and in-depth recommendations for various aspects ofcommunity garden management. Topics include community gardens and development,acquisition and permanency, maintenance and support, capital investment, education, training,programming, management, productivity, and resource development. The city now has more28 City of Berkeley Planning & Development. “Open Space and Recreation Element.” Accessed April 18, 2011.http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/contentdisplay.aspx?id=494 City of Berkeley Planning & Development. “Environmental Management Element.” Accessed April 18, 2011.http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/contentdisplay.aspx?id=478
15than 150 community gardens; ranging in size from small 10-plot spaces to large 300-plot spaces,and producing approximately $1.5 million in food annually.29 Boston’s policy goals are more specific, and thus greatly practical, approachable, andeasily modeled after. For instance, a goal within the plan’s Maintenance and Support section isto “reinforce and systematize basic maintenance services to community gardens citywide.”30The corresponding recommendation is to “continue regular removal of trash by the ParksDepartment and expedite a program for the Public Works Department to include such items in itsregular contracted waste removal process.”31 Although simple, these policies are clear andexecutable – making them effective and preferable to more vague policies. Regardless of their scope and depth, several cities across the United States have includedurban agriculture supported policies and programs into their comprehensive plans. Cities includeSan Francisco, CA, Seattle, WA, Washington D.C., Oakland, CA, Berkeley, CA, Providence, RI,and Madison, WI.32 Municipalities that need to develop comprehensive plan policies for urbanagriculture may borrow, adapt, or modify preexisting content from other cities. Whendeveloping comprehensive plan polices, cities may also look to nonprofit and research-basedorganizations that specialize in food planning and urban agriculture advocacy. The NationalPolicy and Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity (NPLAN), has created model29 Boston Parks and Recreation Department Open Space Plan 2002-2006. “Open Space Management Mission:Community Gardens.” 262-275.30 Boston Parks and Recreation Department Open Space Plan 2002-2006. “Open Space Management Mission:Community Gardens.” 270.31 Boston Parks and Recreation Department Open Space Plan 2002-2006. “Open Space Management Mission:Community Gardens.” 270.32 PHLP. “Land Use and Planning Policies to Support Community and Urban Gardening.” (2008).
16comprehensive plan language “to protect and expand community gardens.”33 Cities can use thisas a base to build upon for their needs. For NPLAN’s complete model comprehensive planlanguage, see Appendix A. In general, comprehensive plans are broader and less legally defined. Therefore, zoningordinances should be developed to enact the technical aspects of urban agriculture planningpolicies.2.3 Zoning Ordinances Zoning ordinances carry out the policies of comprehensive plans through laws, codes,and regulations. More specifically, “a zoning ordinance must be a set of parcel-specificregulations intended to implement the policies of the general plan as they apply to every singleparcel of land.”34 Zoning dictates the use, bulk, and impact of development activities based ontheir designated use district. Regulations pertain to specifications such as building density andcoverage, location, setbacks, and even landscaping. Overall, zoning ordinances do not exist tolimit landowners, but rather to segregate incompatible uses. Unfortunately, existing zoning ordinances that fail to incorporate urban food system andagricultural principles can hinder urban agriculture. Landscaping boundaries may limitlandowners’ abilities to grow food around their homes. Accessory restrictions may prevent33 NPLAN. “Establishing Land Use Protections for Community Gardens.” (2010): 9.34 William Fulton and Paul Shigley, Guide to California Planning (Point Arena, CA: Solano Press Books, 2005), 103-128.
17community gardeners from erecting fences and tool facilities. And health and permitting lawsmay stop urban farmers from selling their products locally. While some cities have allowed urban agriculture as a variably permitted use, many haveyet to establish urban food production as a uniformly codified use in its zoning laws – hinderingits application and permanence. Therefore, enacting zoning ordinances that streamline the legalaspects of urban agriculture is necessary for successful establishment and long-term operation.Currently, many zoning ordinances define urban agriculture in terms of its location, operationtype, size, height, accessories, and sales. The American Planning Association also suggests thatplanners define urban agriculture by the intensity and extent of a municipality’s desiredagricultural activities.35 Intensive Less IntensiveExtensive in Area Rural or periurban farms and associated Backyard and community gardens, agricultural activities limited livestock, and farmstands 36Less Extensive in Area Urban farms, farmers markets, and Backyard and community gardens composting operations By identifying desired operations – livestock, crop size, location, sales – a municipalitycan decide how urban agriculture should be categorized in terms of planning policies. The35 America Planning Association. “Practice Urban Agriculture: Zoning for Urban Agriculture.” Zoning Practice 3(2010): 6.36 America Planning Association. “Practice Urban Agriculture: Zoning for Urban Agriculture,” 5.
18American Planning Association states that “urban agriculture can be treated either as a district oras a use category.”37 Therefore, cities have the opportunity to classify urban agriculture as adistrict, use, or both in its zoning code. A district is an area of space with distinguishing characteristics. Examples includeindustrial, residential, commercial, or open space districts. Defining urban agriculture as azoning district requires planners to specify where these areas will be located within a city, andwhat uses will be permitted within these areas. More specifically, urban agriculture can bedesignated as an independent district or a dedicated subdistrict (within another district).38 The City of Cleveland has started to develop and integrate Urban Garden Districts into itszoning ordinance. Completed as of June 2010, these guidelines define districts in terms ofvarious goals, uses, physical structures, and accessories. PART THREE — ZONING CODE Title VII — Zoning Code | Chapter 336 — Urban Garden District | Complete to June 30, 2010 336.01 Urban Garden District The “Urban Garden District” is hereby established as part of the Zoning Code to ensure that urban garden areas are appropriately located and protected to meet needs for local food production, community health, community education, garden-related job training, environmental enhancement, preservation of green space, and community enjoyment on sites for which urban gardens represent the highest and best use for the community. (Ord. No. 208-07. Passed 3-5-07, eff. 3-9-07) 336.02 Definitions (a) “Community garden” means an area of land managed and maintained by a group of individuals to grow and harvest food crops and/or non-food, ornamental crops, such as flowers, for personal or group use, consumption or donation. Community gardens may be divided into separate plots for cultivation by one or37 America Planning Association. “Practice Urban Agriculture: Zoning for Urban Agriculture,” Zoning Practice 3(2010): 5.38 America Planning Association. “Practice Urban Agriculture: Zoning for Urban Agriculture,” 14.
19more individuals or may be farmed collectively by members of the group and may include common areasmaintained and used by group members.(b) “Market garden” means an area of land managed and maintained by an individual or group ofindividuals to grow and harvest food crops and/or non-food, ornamental crops, such as flowers, to be soldfor profit.(c) “Greenhouse” means a building made of glass, plastic, or fiberglass in which plants are cultivated.(d) “Hoophouse” means a structure made of PVC piping or other material covered with translucent plastic,constructed in a “half-round” or “hoop” shape.(e) “Coldframe” means an unheated outdoor structure consisting of a wooden or concrete frame and a topof glass or clear plastic, used for protecting seedlings and plants from the cold.(Ord. No. 208-07. Passed 3-5-07, eff. 3-9-07)336.03 Permitted Main UsesOnly the following main uses shall be permitted in an Urban Garden District:(a) community gardens which may have occasional sales of items grown at the site;(b) market gardens, including the sale of crops produced on the site.(Ord. No. 208-07. Passed 3-5-07, eff. 3-9-07)336.04 Permitted Accessory UsesOnly the following accessory uses and structures shall be permitted in an Urban Garden District:(a) greenhouses, hoophouses, cold-frames, and similar structures used to extend the growing season;(b) open space associated with and intended for use as garden areas;(c) signs limited to identification, information and directional signs, including sponsorship informationwhere the sponsorship information is clearly secondary to other permitted information on any particularsign, in conformance with the regulations of Section 336.05;(d) benches, bike racks, raised/accessible planting beds, compost bins, picnic tables, seasonal farm stands,fences, garden art, rain barrel systems, chicken coops, beehives, and childrens play areas;(e) buildings, limited to tool sheds, shade pavilions, barns, rest-room facilities with composting toilets, andplanting preparation houses, in conformance with the regulations of Section 336.05;(f) off-street parking and walkways, in conformance with the regulations of Section 336.05.(Ord. No. 208-07. Passed 3-5-07, eff. 3-9-07)336.05 Supplemental RegulationsUses and structures in an Urban Garden District shall be developed and maintained in accordance with thefollowing regulations.(a) Location. Buildings shall be set back from property lines of a Residential District a minimum distance offive (5) feet.(b) Height. No building or other structure shall be greater than twenty-five (25) feet in height.(c) Building Coverage. The combined area of all buildings, excluding greenhouses and hoophouses, shall notexceed fifteen percent (15%) of the garden site lot area.(d) Parking and Walkways. Off-street parking shall be permitted only for those garden sites exceeding15,000 square feet in lot area. Such parking shall be limited in size to ten percent (10%) of the garden sitelot area and shall be either unpaved or surfaced with gravel or similar loose material or shall be paved withpervious paving material. Walkways shall be unpaved except as necessary to meet the needs of individualswith disabilities.(e) Signs. Signs shall not exceed four (4) square feet in area per side and shall not exceed six (6) feet inheight.(f) Seasonal Farm Stands. Seasonal farm stands shall be removed from the premises or stored inside abuilding on the premises during that time of the year when the garden is not open for public use.(g) Fences. Fences shall not exceed six (6) feet in height, shall be at least fifty percent (50%) open if they aretaller than four (4) feet, and shall be constructed of wood, chain link, or ornamental metal. For any gardenthat is 15,000 square feet in area or greater and is in a location that is subject to design review and approvalby the City Planning Commission or Landmarks Commission, no fence shall be installed without review bythe City Planning Director, on behalf of the Commission, who may confer with a neighborhood designreview committee, if one exists, so that best efforts are taken to ensure that the fence is compatible in
20 appearance and placement with the character of nearby properties. 39 (Ord. No. 208-07. Passed 3-5-07, eff. 3-9-07) Although relatively simple, Cleveland’s district-based zoning ordinance for urbanagriculture offers flexibility in food production types, physical infrastructure, artistic expression,recreational use, and even seasonal sales. Thus, Cleveland’s zoning code serves as a solidexample for defining Urban Gardens Districts and other independent agricultural districts acrossthe United States. Other cities, such as Boston, MA and Portland, OR have too protected urbanagriculture under designated subdistricts. Both municipalities have chosen to place thesesubdistricts within their open space zones and related management plans. Boston, MA Article 33 of the Boston Zoning Code created an Open Space designation, encouraging the preservation of such lands. Section 33-8 established a subdistrict specifically for Community Gardens. SECTION 33-8. Community Garden Open Space Subdistricts. Section 33-8- Community Garden Open Space Subdistricts. Community garden open space (OS-G) subdistricts shall consist of land appropriate for and limited to the cultivation of herbs, fruits, flowers, or vegetables, including the cultivation and tillage of soil and the production, cultivation, growing, and harvesting of any agricultural, floricultural, or horticultural commodity; such land may include Vacant Public Land. Portland, OR Portlands definition of a Parks and Open Areas zone includes Community Gardens. Other places in the code state a purpose to preserve and enhance Open Space zones. 33.920.460 Parks And Open Areas A. Characteristics. Parks And Open Areas are uses of land focusing on natural areas, large areas consisting mostly of vegetative landscaping or outdoor recreation, community gardens, or public squares. Lands tend to have few structures.4039 Find Law. “Cleveland Zoning Code: Urban Garden District.” Accessed April 18, 2011.http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/clevelandcodes/cco_part3_336.html40 Leah Erickson et al. “Urban Agriculture in Seattle: Policy & Barriers.” Report for University of Washingtoncertificate program in Environmental Law and Regulation. (2009).
21 The National Policy and Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity(NPLAN) has written model zoning ordinance language for establishing urban agriculturesubdistricts within larger open space districts. Municipalities can use this model as a simple baseto shape their zoning ordinances. For NPLAN’s complete model zoning ordinance language forsubdistricts, see Appendix B. While urban agriculture-based districts and subdistricts are extremely important, theyplace emphasis on community-level food production versus at-home, residential growingschemes. For this reason, NPLAN asserts that urban agriculture should be an “approved use ofland in residential, multifamily, mixed-use, open space, industrial, and any other districts.”41When urban agriculture is classified as a zoning use, it may be imbedded within cities’preexisting parcels or districts. This zoning technique is useful because districts, exclusively forurban agriculture, do not have to be freshly delineated. A use is a permitted, conditional, or forbidden activity or development type within adistrict. Permitted uses are categorized as either primary or accessory. A primary permitted useis the principle activity or use of a property, as defined in the zoning ordinance. An accessorypermitted use is the secondary activity or use of a property, as defined in the zoning ordinance.Some accessory uses require conditional use permits.4241 NPLAN. “Establishing Land Use Protections for Community Gardens.” (2010): 11.42 America Planning Association. “Practice Urban Agriculture: Zoning for Urban Agriculture.” Zoning Practice 3(2010): 14.
22 Sanctioning urban agriculture as a zoning use requires planners to specify parameters onagricultural development activities. Urban agriculture uses, depending on a municipalities’definition, may include livestock, gardening, and community-supported agriculture (CSAs).(See above discussion of intensity and extent.) From there, planners can decide where urbanagriculture uses belong within the city: open space, parks, government spaces (City Hall,departments, etc.), industrial, residential, and other. Some cities that have created urbanagriculture uses include Milwaukee, WI, Nashville, TN, Kansas City, MO, Portland, OR, Seattle,WA, Chicago, IL, San Francisco, CA, and New York, NY. Portland, for example, has developed an agriculture use within its zoning code; permittedin industrial and low-density residential districts, and allowed as a conditional use in medium-density residential and commercial districts.43 33.920.500 Agriculture A. Characteristics. Agriculture includes activities that raise, produce or keep plants or animals. B. Accessory uses. Accessory uses include dwellings for proprietors and employees of the use, and animal training. Chapter 33.920 Title 33, Planning and Zoning Descriptions of the Use Categories 4/24/10 920-16 C. Examples. Examples include breeding or raising of fowl or other animals; dairy farms; stables; riding academies; kennels or other animal boarding places; farming, truck gardening, forestry, tree farming; and wholesale plant nurseries. D. Exceptions. 1. Processing of animal or plant products, including milk, and feed lots, are classified as Manufacturing And Production. 2. Livestock auctions are classified as Wholesale Sales. 3. Plant nurseries that are oriented to retail sales are classified as Retail Sales And Service. 4. When kennels are limited to boarding, with no breeding, the applicant may choose to classify the use as Agriculture or Retail Sales And Service4443 City of Portland Planning and Zoning. “Description of the Use Categories.” Accessed April 18, 2011.http://www.portlandonline.com/bps/index.cfm?a=53501&c=3456744 City of Portland Planning and Zoning. “Description of the Use Categories.” Accessed April 18, 2011.http://www.portlandonline.com/bps/index.cfm?a=53501&c=34567
23 In September 2010, Seattle’s City Council implemented zoning changes that permit urbanagriculture as a use in virtually all districts. In residential districts, small urban farms (less than4,000 sq ft) are permitted as an accessory use without a permit; large urban farms (greater than4,000 sq ft) require a conditional use permit. In commercial districts, urban farms are permittedas a principle or accessory use (less than 10,000 sq ft in NC1 zones, less than 25,000 sq ft inNC2 zones, and any size in NC3 and C zones). And in industrial districts, urban farms arepermitted as a principle or accessory use.45 A few months later in December 2010, Mayor Richard Daley proposed amendments toChicago’s zoning ordinance in order to better meet the goals addressed in the Food SystemsReport (created by the Chicago Food Policy Advisory Council and the city’s Department ofZoning and Planning) and GO TO 2040, a sustainability-centered regional plan developed byChicago’s Metropolitan Agency for Planning. The proposed amendments broadly tackle issuesof food access. More specifically, Mayor Daley’s proposed amendments better integrate urbanagriculture and officially recognize it as a permitted use. The amendments define urbanagriculture sites as community gardens, or commercial gardens and greenhouses, as discussedbelow.45 Urban Food Policy. “Chicago’s Urban Agriculture Zoning Proposal.” Accessed April 18, 2011.http://www.urbanfoodpolicy.com/2011/01/chicagos-urban-agriculture-zoning.html
24 Community gardens would be defined as neighborhood-based developments that provide space for volunteers to grow plants for beautification, education, recreation, local distribution or personal use. They would be allowed in virtually every part of the city with the exception of manufacturing districts. Commercial gardens and greenhouses would be defined as growing locations used for the propagation, processing, storage and sale of plants and plant products. These recommendations include specific provisions for hydroponics and vertical farming, typically conducted indoors, and outdoor growing in raised plant beds. Outdoor locations would be allowed in all C, B-3, M-2 and M-3 districts, along with the Northwest, West Pullman and Greater Southwest Planned Manufacturing Districts (PMDs). Indoor locations 46 would be allowed in the above districts and every PMD citywide. Additionally, community gardens in Chicago must be owned, operated, and managed bycommunity organizations (nonprofit, civic, or public). In residential districts, communitygardens are restricted to less than 18,750 sq ft. In park and open space districts, communitygardens can be greater than 18,750 sq ft.47 The effectiveness of Chicago’s proposed zoning ordinance and protocols arequestionable. The amendments may restrict the size of preexisting agricultural operations48 –currently many established urban farms in Chicago exceed the proposed size limitations. Otherrestrictions include accessory size, composting materials and sourcing, processing, storage, andsales.46 City of Chicago. “News Release: Zoning Amendment Would Nourish Urban Agriculture.” Accessed April 18, 2011.http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dcd/provdrs/sustain/news/2010/dec/zoning_amendmentwouldnourishurbanagriculturecitywise.html47 Urban Food Policy. “Chicago’s Urban Agriculture Zoning Proposal.” Accessed April 18, 2011.http://www.urbanfoodpolicy.com/2011/01/chicagos-urban-agriculture-zoning.html48 Eng, Monica. “The City That Grows.” The Chicago Tribune, January 3, 2011. Accessed April 18, 2011.http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-01-03/news/ct-met-urban-agriculture--20101228_1_city-farm-urban-farming-urban-agriculture
25 Sheds and greenhouses may not take up more than 10% of the community garden site, or 100 square feet, whichever is greater. Composting is limited to the materials generated on-site, not organic matter brought to the garden by local residents. And the processing, storage and sale of plants or plant products are 49 prohibited on site. Many individuals and organizations have voiced concerns over the restrictions posed bythe Mayor’s amendments. The Chicago Food Policy Advisory Council (CFPAC) argues that theamendments specifically set unnecessary limits on urban agriculture in residential districts, sizeand sale of community gardens, and composting materials.50 Seeking alternatives, CFPACdiscusses how barriers to produce sales have been addressed in other cities’ zoning codes. Forexample, Kansas City allows home and community gardeners to sell whole and uncut producefrom their on-site growing locations during a defined season. (CSA and large scale farmers mustobtain permits to sell produce on-site.) In December 2010, Mayor Gavin Newsom and the San Francisco Planning Commissionalso proposed amendments to San Francisco’s zoning ordinance that permit gardens (both non-commercial and commercial) and consequent produce sales. Planning Code 102.34 definesurban agriculture as neighborhood agriculture or urban industrial agriculture. Neighborhoodagriculture is less than 43,560 sq ft (1 acre) and includes community gardens, communitysupported agriculture, market gardens, and private farms. Urban industrial agriculture is greaterthan 43,560 sq ft (or smaller parcels that do not meet the standards for neighborhood agriculture)49 Urban Food Policy. “Chicago’s Urban Agriculture Zoning Proposal.” Accessed April 18, 2011.http://www.urbanfoodpolicy.com/2011/01/chicagos-urban-agriculture-zoning.html50 Chicago Food Policy Advisory Council. “Proposed Recommendations.” Accessed April 18, 2011.http://www.chicagofoodpolicy.org/CFPAC%20Response%20to%20Urban%20Agriculture%20Zoning%20Amendment.pdf
26and includes larger scale food production.51 Designations are based on size and performancecriteria (produce sales, equipment storage, etc).52 Because urban agriculture is greatly defined bysize and use, contention and disagreement often form in trying to define these areas. The SanFrancisco Urban Agriculture Alliance criticizes the proposed amendments based on compost sitesetback restrictions, fencing requirements, limits on mechanized farm equipment use and storage,“change of use” permitting fees, and restrictions on sales of “processed or value added goods”53However, the proposed amendments have yet to be adopted. The public hearing process beganon February 17, 2011. More generally, in creating a comprehensive zoning ordinance, it is important to considercodes, regulations, and licenses as they pertain to local, state, and federal laws. As discussedpreviously, the National Policy and Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity(NPLAN) has created model zoning ordinance language for establishing urban agriculture as anapproved use. Although the model specifically discusses community gardens, cities can use it toamend their zoning ordinances. The model is unique because it takes into account issues relatingto the Americans with Disabilities Act compliance, Environmental Site Assessment (ESA), andguidelines for operating rules and fair management.54 The Americans with Disabilities Act51 Urban Food Policy. “Chicago’s Urban Agriculture Zoning Proposal.” Accessed April 18, 2011.http://www.urbanfoodpolicy.com/2011/01/chicagos-urban-agriculture-zoning.html52 Chandler, Jeri Lynn. “Mayor proposes code amendment for urban agriculture in San Francisco.” Examiner,December 15, 2010. Accessed April 18, 2011. http://www.examiner.com/sustainable-food-in-san-francisco/mayor-proposes-code-amendment-for-urban-agriculture-san-francisco53 San Francisco Urban Agriculture Alliance. “SF Urban Agriculture Zoning Proposal.” Accessed April 18, 2011.http://www.sfuaa.org/urban-ag-zoning-proposal.html54 NPLAN. “Establishing Land Use Protections for Community Gardens.” (2010): 12.
27ensures protections and equal access to those with disabilities. And Environmental SiteAssessment involves waste, soil, water, and chemical testing at a development site. Incombination with operational guidelines, these added measures account for social and publichealth concerns not addressed by other municipalities. (For NPLAN’s complete model zoningordinance language, see Appendix C.) Outside of district or use definitions, other municipalities have incorporated generalstandards to support urban agriculture in their zoning ordinances. Some cities include Cleveland,OH, Sacramento, CA, Escondido, CA, and Providence, RI.55 Within Cleveland’s zoning codes,urban agriculture is protected under Urban Garden Districts and labeled as the highest and bestuse for the community. Sacramento has altered its residential landscaping requirements to allowfor flexibility in landscape design and function. This includes everything from plants grown tolocations plantable (front yards, side yards, etc).56 Other cities’ zoning ordinances delineaterestrictions and requirements based on the size and use of an urban agriculture site.2.4 Organizational Infrastructure Although policies and zoning ordinances lay the technical and legal framework for urbanagriculture, people must implement tangible improvements. Therefore, organizations play acritical role in actualizing urban agriculture within a community. They facilitate funding,55 PHLP. “Land Use and Planning Policies to Support Community and Urban Gardening.” (2008).56 PHLP. “Land Use and Planning Policies to Support Community and Urban Gardening.” (2008).
28communication and community outreach, policy creation, advocacy, education, and training.57(See Appendix E for detailed chart of organizational roles in Seattle urban agriculture system.)Broadly, organizations include government departments, nonprofits, grant foundations, citizengroups, entrepreneurial programs, and educational institutions. Government departments reside over the planning infrastructure and legal enforcement ofurban agriculture. As discussed previously, they are directly responsible for implementingpolicies and codes, establishing city gardening programs, and creating supportive resources.Decision-making bodies currently work within offices planning, agriculture, parks andrecreation, open space, neighborhood interest, nutrition, education, sustainability, andenvironment. Some specific examples include Board of Supervisors, City Council, Departmentof Neighborhoods, Food and Drugs Code, Planning and Development Department, and Office ofSustainability.58 Nonprofits facilitate community interest and engagement with specific goals andprograms. Across the country, many nonprofit organizations work to support urban agriculture.They advocate for all aspects of urban agriculture (and related facets), including regional healthand nutrition, land trusts, elementary school gardening, school lunch programs, local foods, roofand yard gardening, food justice, CSAs, obesity prevention, and food banks. More importantly,many nonprofits manage urban agricultural programs in cities – securing funds and government57 Amelia Conlen. “Urban Agriculture in Seattle: Organizational Roles and Needs.” Community Environment andPlanning, University of Washington. (2009).58 PHLP. “Land Use and Planning Policies to Support Community and Urban Gardening.” (2008).
29partnerships to enact their objectives. Examples include NeighborSpace in Chicago, IL,Community Action Coalition in Madison, WI, P-Patch in Seattle, WA, GreenThumb in NewYork, NY, and Friends of Portland Community Gardens in Portland, OR.59 Grant foundations (nonprofit, private, or government) provide individual andcommunities with financial resources to incorporate urban agriculture into their lifestyles. Likenonprofits, they usually operate within a mission and specific set of goals. Grant foundations areexcellent for financing start-up resources (land, equipment/tools, seeds, soil, etc.), educatorstipends, public gardens maintenance and staff, and other forms of assistance. The Center forCivic Partnerships’ California Healthy Cities and Communities program financially supportscommunity gardens across California.60 (See Appendix D for detailed table.) Other samplegrant foundations include the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture CommunityFood Projects fund, Ben & Jerry’s Foundation National Grassroots Grant Program, Annie’sGrants for Gardens, and Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation. Citizen groups are stakeholders in the community. They directly represent and advocatefor their special interests. Groups may include farmers, agriculture experts, food and nutritionspecialists, residents concerned with zoning restrictions, elementary educators, etc. These voicesare critical in establishing an equitable and comprehensive planning framework for urbanagriculture, because they represent the interests of those affected.59 PHLP. “Land Use and Planning Policies to Support Community and Urban Gardening.” (2008).60 Twiss et al. “Field Action Report - Community Gardens: Lessons Learned FromCalifornia Healthy Cities and Communities.” American Journal of Public Health 93 (2003): 1437.
30 Entrepreneurial programs turn urban agriculture into for-market, value-added products.An excellent sample organization is Food From the ‘Hood (FFTH), based in South Central LosAngeles. Since its inception in 1992, FFTH has been owned and managed by Crenshaw HighSchool students. FFTH delivers natural products made from the produce grown in their ownconverted garden.61 The organization donates 25 percent to those in need and sells theremainder. In a report, the Corporation for Educational Radio and Television said, “Fifty percentof the profits go back into the organization to keep it running and fifty percent is awardedthrough scholarships to student managers upon high school graduation. To date, over $250,000in scholarships have been generated.”62 FFTH and other entrepreneurial programs demonstratehow urban agriculture can meet market demands to deliver local community benefits. Finally, educational institutions are responsible for teaching community members aboutgardening and agriculture. More specifically, these organizations educate individuals about whyurban agriculture is important and how to get started. Topics may include how to choose plants(based on seasons, light, moisture, temperature, etc.), how to use tools, where to acquire start-upfunds, where to garden, and how to understand legal restrictions. Programs may cater todifferent audiences, such as elementary school children, senior citizens, or non-English speakers. Additionally, Master Gardeners are an important aspect of educational efforts. Asdefined by the Washington State University Master Gardener Program and the King County61 Jerry Kaufman and Martin Bailkey. “Farming Inside Cities: Entrepreneurial Urban Agriculture in the UnitedStates.” Lincoln Institute of Land Policy Working Paper (2000).62 Corporation for Educational Radio and Television. “Food From the ‘Hood.” Accessed April 18, 2011.http://www.certnyc.org/ffth.html
31Master Gardener Foundation, Master Gardeners provide community members with plantinformation, garden management advice, problem diagnosis, training classes, resources, andevents.63 Essentially, Master Gardeners serve their communities as overseeing educators and go-to experts. Master Gardener programs can be facilitated through educational institutions andnonprofits, as demonstrated in King County, or government agencies as they so choose. As demonstrated by the infrastructure of organizations discussed, strong networkssurround the social and political aspects of urban agriculture. Therefore, such diversestakeholders and experts in the community should be drawn on to create food policy councils. Ingeneral, food policy councils are defined as advisory boards that moderate local food policiesand access issues.64 However, the exact mission, goals, and stake-holder make up of thesecouncils vary. They exist at the state, regional, county, and local/city levels.65 Over the past 10years alone, over 35 food policy councils were founded in North America.66 These councils notonly broadly “strengthen local and regional food systems,”67 but work to ensure that thedevelopment and maintenance of urban agriculture is both equitable and representative of thecommunity as a whole. Food policy councils’ collaborative endeavors should establish, implement, and regulateplanning policies and laws as they pertain to urban agriculture. This involves monitoring63 King County Extension and WSU. “Master Gardeners.” Accessed April 18, 2011.http://king.wsu.edu/gardening/mastergardener.htm64 Lane County Food Policy Council. “Who We Are.” Accessed April 18, 2011. http://www.fpclanecounty.org/65 CFSC’s North American Food Policy Council. “Council List.” Accessed April 18, 2011.www.foodsecurity.org/FPC/council.html66 American Planning Association. “Policy Guide on Community and Regional Food Planning.” (2007): 7.67 American Planning Association. “Policy Guide on Community and Regional Food Planning.” (2007): 7.
32existing projects, advocating just policies, outreaching, and providing financial and educationalresources for community members.6868 Robert M. Pederson and Aileen Robertson. “Food Policies are Essential for Healthy Cities.” UA Magazine, March2001, 10 -11.
333.0 Assessing Framework Feasibility3.1 Challenges to Implementation Several barriers limit successful planning for urban agriculture. These challenges arebased on the physical, economic, and social demographics of a community: Physical limitations constrain growing varieties. This includes weather, seasonalvariation, soil quality, fresh water access, moisture, sunlight, and so on. These limitations arenot totally changeable because they are inherent to the permanent and physical location of anurban growing space. However, inputs may aid or improve the physical conditions of a space,pending resource availability, manpower, and financial support. Economic constraints restrict the development and implementation of urban agricultureon many levels. From a planning perspective, insufficient finances may limit resources availablefor the development of policies, laws, and programs. Inadequate funds may also limit theestablishment of agricultural spaces (both public and private), land resources, start-up assistance,equipment, tools, seeds, soil, and infrastructure. These limitations can be offset by municipalbudgetary accommodations and fundraising partnerships with nonprofits, grant foundations,citizen groups, entrepreneurial programs, educational institutions, Master Gardener programs,and food policy councils. The Community Food Security Coalition, an organization that worksto implement just, sustainable, and nutritious food systems, also suggests that municipalities
34support individuals by providing tool banks, seed grants, grower micro-credit, communityproduction facilities, loans, and insurance.69 Finally, social and population demographics are critical. They are shaped by individualwealth, cultural background, language, employment, education, housing, and access toinformation. Demographics shape the needs, wants, and demands for planning, as well as theexecution of these measures. As previously discussed, food policy councils are essential foracknowledging varying demographics, educating and outreaching to individuals, creatingcommunity-wide comprehensive policies, and implementing accessible programs. Populationdensity may also impact urban agriculture programs, in terms of community garden space, tools,training, and funding. For municipal gardening spaces and resources, individuals typicallysubmit an application to the responsible or sponsoring government agency. However, applicantsmay be waitlisted for extended periods of time. As a result, these individuals may not be able tostart growing food immediately.3.2 Conclusion Food insecurity threatens communities across the United States, so accessible andsustained urban agriculture practices must be rapidly realized in planning efforts. Municipalitiesbenefit from developing and implementing a planning framework for urban agriculture because69 Urban Agriculture Committee. “Urban Agriculture and Community Food Security in the United States:Farming from the City Center to the Urban Fringe.” Accessed April 18, 2011.http://www.foodsecurity.org/urbanag.html#V
35policies, laws, and programs alleviate food insecurity issues, improve urban food systems,enhance communities, and sustain agricultural practices. Likewise, critical opportunities,examples, and boundaries exist in developing a successful planning framework. This documentprovides an overview of broad policies for planners, comprehensive plans, zoning ordinances,and organization infrastructure, based on existing practices and suggested plans. All thediscussed policies, laws, and programs range in scope, depth, detail, and clout at the discretion ofthose who have developed them. As evident, municipalities prioritize varying aspects ofplanning, development, and agriculture, are comprised by different stakeholder demographics,reconcile distinct community values, and respond to diverse criticism. Planning schemes haveboth beneficial aspects and areas that need improvement. However, municipalities as a wholeare using planning measures to promote local food systems and protect urban agriculture forcommunity health and empowerment.
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