With Policy Changes, Urban Farmers Seek Bountiful Harvest

Riding a tide of environmental consciousness and self-sufficiency, the urban agriculture movement is gaining momentum in California. Urban farmers have been lobbying for zoning and other city regulations to bring an underground hobby into the light.

Josh Stephens reviews new legislation enacted by cities throughout California over the last two years, "as more and more people turn to agriculture in urban areas for both personal and financial sustenance."

"In June of 2010, the Los Angeles city council passed an amendment to its 1946 general plan, which indirectly outlawed the cultivation of anything other than vegetables for sale off-site. Written at the behest of an embattled flower farmer in Silver Lake and informally dubbed the "Fruit and Flowers Freedom Act," the bill, introduced by Council President Eric Garcetti in 2009, sought to define truck gardening to include berries, flowers, fruits, herbs, mushrooms, ornamental plants, nuts and seedlings, essentially ensuring the legality of small-scale agriculture throughout the city by clearly addressing the previously murky term."

"San Diego passed an ordinance in February making it easier for city dwellers to keep chickens by easing up on property line restrictions that had called for them (up to 25 only) to be kept at least 50 feet from residential structures. Under the new law, as long as coops are well ventilated and provide six square feet of space per chick, depending on space, residents are able to keep a varying number of chickens on their property, from five to 50. San Diego also passed a law in January allowing residents to keep two-for companionship's sake-miniature goats per property (though products such as milk and cheese are still for personal consumption only) as well as two beehives." 

Thanks to Josh Stephens

Full Story: Cities Cultivate New Approaches to Urban Agriculture

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