UNIVERSITY OF CALIFONIA Santa Barbara
DEVELOPING 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
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 by environmental degradation, decreasing agricultural land, rising social inequities, skewed communities, and public health issues. Urban agriculture provides an opportunity to counteract food system problems and empower individuals. Urban agriculture is broadly defined as food production in urban spaces. Despite its benefits, urban agriculture is threatened by institutional barriers. Urban agriculture is not fully supported by municipal laws and policies, making it vulnerable 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, and organizational infrastructure. Samples are drawn from cities across the United States, including San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Cleveland, Seattle, and Chicago. Discussion, comparison, and evaluation are based on public input and comment. Because of the very recent and ongoing nature of urban agriculture planning measures, discussed policies, laws, and programs are sometimes incomplete or in the process of being adopted. This thesis establishes opportunities, examples, and boundaries for developing an urban agriculture planning framework and potential nationwide municipal application. Key Words: urban agriculture, urban food system, planning, comprehensive plan, zoning ordinance ii
As a food-lover and descendent of family farmers, I have always been interested in the hows and whys of agriculture. However, my curiosity in the political, social, economic, and legal aspects of food production has only been recently spurred. Last spring, a lecture in Paul Wack’s Advanced Environmental Planning course prompted my attention to urban planning as it relates to 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 Focus Group (part of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center), heard from researchers at Occidental College’s Urban and Environmental Policy Institute, viewed Scott Hamilton Kennedy’s The Garden, and delved into the unsettling and controversial disbanding of the South Central Farm in Los Angeles. Just as I searched for answers to the questions posed by peers, academics, and affected 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 urban agriculture.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments........................................................................................................................................ iii 1.0 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 ............................................................................................................. 8 2.0 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 ............................................................................................................ 27 3.0 Assessing Framework Feasibility ......................................................................................................... 33 3.1 Challenges to Implementation .......................................................................................................... 33 3.2 Conclusion ........................................................................................................................................ 34 References ................................................................................................................................................... 36 Appendix A ............................................................................................................................................... A-1 Appendix B ............................................................................................................................................... B-1 Appendix C ............................................................................................................................................... C-1 Appendix D ............................................................................................................................................... D-1 Appendix E ............................................................................................................................................... E-1
1.0 Urban Food Systems
1.1 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 food systems aim to provide city inhabitants with nourishment and nutrition. From farms to supermarkets, establishments that make up urban food systems are responsible for feeding people. 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 food security is defined as a “condition in which all community residents obtain a safe, culturally acceptable, nutritionally adequate diet through a sustainable food system that maximizes community self-reliance, social justice, and democratic decision-making.”2
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 Nutrition Education and Behavior 35 (2003).
Emerging agricultural trends shape food insecurity within urban food systems at the community level and beyond. Farmland is rapidly decreasing, especially in urban areas. Small farms (between 50-500 acres) have decreased by 7 percent, smaller farms (500-1000 acres) have decreased by 11 percent, while large farms over 2,000 acres have increased by 5 percent. As farm owners age and younger generations assume different careers, traditional family farms are lost, converted, or consolidated.3 According to the American Farmland Trust, United States farmland is decreasing by 1 acre per minute. The major loss in prime farmland over the past 25 years is attributed to development 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 sprawlstyle development.4 Today, people largely obtain their food from industrial, globalized sources that are characterized by hybrid (and TGV) crop varieties, genetic uniformity, privatization/patented rights, and mechanized practices. However, industrial agriculture has severe environmental, social, and economic consequences. It depletes natural resources, destroys soil structure and long-term stability, weakens crop resistance to pests and disease, produces excessive waste product, pollutes waterways, threatens native/ancient plant species and biodiversity, and relies on heavy chemical use. Socially, industrial agriculture reduces purchasing power and economic
American Planning Association. “Policy Guide on Community and Regional Food Planning.” (2007): 4. American Farmland Trust. “Farming on the Edge Report.” Accessed April 18, 2011. http://www.farmland.org/resources/fote/default.asp
opportunities within local communities, and relies on exploitative labor. It also destroys culinary traditions and cultural identities passed along many generations. As a whole, the inequity and irresponsibility 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. According to a report released by the Community Food Security Coalition, “federal farm policy since the 1950s has encouraged the overproduction…of a few commodities such as corn and soybeans, all with 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 to the public are wholly unhealthy. As a result, people are provided with poor food from a young age. They consume excessive saturated fats, sodium, and sugar, and lack sufficient portions of fruit, whole grains, vegetable, and legumes.6 Food insecurity specifically affects minority groups. “People who are living in poverty are likely also to experience food insecurity: children, inner-city residents, single parent femaleheaded households, people of color, people living with disabilities, the elderly, and farm workers.”7 In a 2001 report, Robert Pederson of the Danish Cancer Society and Aileen Robertson of the World Health Organization state that “supermarkets are increasingly built on
American Planning Association. “Policy Guide on Community and Regional Food Planning.” (2007): 4. USDA Nutrition Insight. “The Quality of Children’s Diets in 2003-04 as Measured by the Healthy Eating Index2005.” (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
the periphery of cities making regular access, especially for vulnerable groups such as the elderly or disabled, difficult.”8 Many vulnerable individuals are also without the sufficient transportation (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 lowincome, minority, urban neighborhoods nationwide. As a result, residents in these communities are forced to purchase their food at unhealthy retailers such as fast food chains, liquor stores, and convenience markets. Not only do these outlets offer less healthy food options, but they are also more expensive. A study conducted by Kami Pothukuchi at Wayne State University in 2001 surveyed Detroit grocery stores and found that those in downtown, low-income areas were 10 percent more expensive. Those same stores also carried a limited assortment of healthy food options.9 As stated in a report by the Community Food Security Coalition, “low-income consumers 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 at chain 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 to affordable fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk, and other foods that make up the full
Robert M. Pederson and Aileen Robertson. “Food Policies are Essential for Healthy Cities.” UA Magazine, March 2001, 10. 9 Kami Pothukuchi. “Personal Communication.” Wayne State University (2001). 10 CFSC. “Andy Fisher, Hot Peppers & Parking Lot Peaches: Evaluating Farmers’ Markets In Low-Income Communities.” (1999): 6.
range of a healthy diet.”11 As a result, people in these areas have higher incidences of health problems than the greater population, including disease, malnutrition, obesity, and development issues. “The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service (2006) reports that in 2005, 11 percent of all U.S. households were "food insecure" because of a lack of sufficient food. Black (22.4 percent) and Hispanic (17.9 percent) households experienced food insecurity at far 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 of food provided. The USDA’s nutritional Recommended Daily Allowances and ethnically-based food 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 hearty grains.13 Aside from purely health-related concerns, restricted access to food choices reduces peoples’ sovereignty. While affluent individuals in food-secure neighborhoods are able to access food of their choice, individuals in food insecure neighborhoods lack access to foods that are healthy and culturally-ethnically appropriate. These social limitations reflect the injustice present in urban food systems. Therefore, current agricultural practices and trends suggest that
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&lev el3_id=5732&level4_id=0&level5_id=0&placement_default=0
alternative outlets for food production are necessary – especially those close to urban populations.
1.2 Urban Agriculture as a Solution
Urban agriculture provides an opportunity to address, counterbalance, and solve issues associated with urban food systems, as well as empower individuals with regards to their food sources. 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” in relation to urban economies, environments, and traditionally underserved people within the population.14 With contemporary roots in World War II Victory Gardens of the 1940s, urban agriculture now includes residential plots, rooftop gardens, food production in various public and private spaces (including residential lots, lawns, rooftops, schools, parks, and abandoned lots), community gardens, community supported agriculture (CSAs) on the urban periphery, and produce 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 other livestock. Urban agriculture provides a multitude of socially progressive benefits and empowers disenfranchised people to fight negative trends in their neighborhood: alleviating poverty and easing financial strains, building local economies, encouraging healthy eating choices, building
Resources Centres on Urban Agriculture & Food Security. “What is Urban Agriculture?” Accessed April 18, 2011. http://www.ruaf.org/node/512
nutritional knowledge, providing recreational and exercise opportunities, beautifying industrial landscapes, and reinforcing community values.15 Moreover, urban agriculture shifts power away from the fast food retailers and industrial producers that contribute to food deserts and poor health. Discussing the South Central Farm in Los Angeles, Clara Irazabal, Assistant Professor of Urban Planning at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University, and Anita Punja of the University of Southern California, state that urban agriculture succeeds in “building ethnic landscape” by providing “a medium to preserve and recreate community traditions of agriculture and heirloom seeds, survival strategies of indigenous cultural…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 to preserve cultural traditions while producing healthy food. Drawn from interviews conducted with Philadelphia community gardeners, other benefits include recreation, mental and physical health, intergenerational interaction, civic engagement, reduced crime/vandalism, produce quality and nutrition, spirituality, cost-saving and convenience, self-expression and self-fulfillment. “Green space creates a place for social gathering, creates a sense of community and has been found to reduce stress, anger and even
Anne Bellows, Katherine Brown, and Jac Smit, “Health Benefits of Urban Agriculture.” (2003): 1-12. Clara Irazabal and Anita Punja, “Cultivating Just Planning and Legal Institutions: A Critical Assessment of the South Central Farm Struggle in Los Angeles.” Journal of Urban Affairs 31 (2009): 10.
blood pressure.” 17 In essence, urban agriculture serves as a medium for community members to address food injustice and insecurity through independent production, community building, and autonomous decision-making. By empowering people at personal and local levels, urban agriculture 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 and impermanency – making them provisional and replaceable resources. This mindset ignores the human labor and investment needed to create agricultural spaces; framing community gardens as vacant, potentially developable sites.18 People’s personal, economic, and time-consuming investments in food production are vulnerable when urban agriculture practices are not fully supported by laws and policies. When urban agriculture is not considered a best practice – the highest and best use for the space – the land it occupies is consequently prone to alternative development. Thus, the perceived illegitimacy of urban farming in planning contexts hinders urban agriculture efforts.19 Lawson (2007) states that a community farm “may have an aura of permanence, yet the
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): 611616.
determining factor is not use but potential land use and ownership.”20 Although a site’s agricultural benefits may be well received, its potential use as an industrial, commercial, or residential space is ultimately more profitable and therefore compelling. The proliferated illegitimacy of “user-initiated spaces”21 like community farms reinforces unjust planning policies and laws. By failing to implement planning policies for urban agriculture, cities benefit from these farm sites for their scenic, recreation, and open space qualities without having the political and financial responsibilities of legally incorporating them. The South Central Farm in Los Angeles accurately depicts the imperfections of legal and planning institutions with regard to urban agriculture. Initiated in 1994 by the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, the South Central Farm provided immeasurable sustenance, economic, social, and beautifying qualities to the poor, foodless Los Angeles neighborhood. Despite 14 years of occupancy, hard work, and familial-like interdependency, dozens of Latino families were evicted from the 350-plot farm in 2006. The 14-acre space allocated to the community farm, acquired 20 years earlier through eminent domain, provided the community resources and opportunities they could not acquire elsewhere. The eviction was approved by the LA City Council 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 supporters fought the decision through protesting, fundraising, and finally civil disobedience, until they were physically removed from the site for bulldozing. This instance clearly demonstrates that
Lawson. “The South Central Farm: Dilemmas in Practicing the Public,” 614. Lawson. “The South Central Farm: Dilemmas in Practicing the Public,” 611-616.
protections must be put in place to guard vulnerable individuals who experience what Irazabal & Punja (2009) call “socially constructed disadvantage and lack decision-making power and control over their city spaces.”22 The questions, contention, and suspected corruption that surround the South Central Farm exemplify the entrenched inequities in United States planning policies, as well as lacking legal support for urban agriculture. Serious problems with urban agriculture practices – and urban food systems at large – therefore call for implementation of comprehensive planning measures. “Planners play an important role in assessing existing food access disparities, shaping the food environment of communities, and facilitating healthy eating.”23 Ultimately, planners are responsible for legitimizing urban agriculture. “Strategies to secure user-initiated spaces like community gardens require shifting public perception from appropriated space to validated public resource.”24 I suggest that developing and implementing a planning framework (policies, laws, and programs) for urban agriculture will help alleviate food insecurity issues, enhance local communities, and ensure sustained and permanent practices. In the following I will analyze various elements and approaches to planning for urban agriculture, how they have and are developing, and community responses and criticism.
Clara Irazabal and Anita Punja, “Cultivating Just Planning and Legal Institutions: A Critical Assessment of the South 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.htm 24 Laura Lawson. “The South Central Farm: Dilemmas in Practicing the Public.” Cultural Geographies 14 (2007): 611.
2.0 Elements of a Planning Framework for Urban Agriculture
This document outlines four areas within the planning framework: broad policies for planners, comprehensive plans, zoning ordinances, and organizational infrastructure.
2.1 Broad Policies for Planners
While various stakeholders affect the decision-making process, planners ultimately delineate 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 planning outlines 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 region's 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 agriculture vulnerable, illegal, or displaceable in urban environments. Therefore, planners’ standards must be adapted to community needs for urban agriculture.
American Planning Association. “Policy Guide on Community and Regional Food Planning.” (2007): 2.
2.2 Comprehensive Plans
Comprehensive Plans (also known as General, Master, Community, or Area Plans) establish municipalities’ planning policies, elements, and long-term development goals. The document must be internally consistent, in compliance with state laws, relevant, and current. In California, for example, municipalities are required to incorporate seven elements into their general plan: land use, circulation, housing, conservation, open space, noise, and safety. Each element defines specific goals and objectives for that area of interest, and outlines the policies and actions necessary to enact them. Aside from these required sections, cities and counties may choose to add elements they deem appropriate for their constituents. Optional elements may include parks and recreation, design, historic preservation, environmental management, or agriculture.26 Accordingly, comprehensive plans have the ability to support and protect urban agriculture through policy inclusion. By devising an urban agriculture focused element or incorporating urban agriculture into an existing element (i.e. agriculture, open space, parks and recreation, environmental management, etc.), municipalities have the opportunity to establish, enable, and sustain urban agriculture. Many cities across the country have already incorporated urban agriculture into their comprehensive plans. However, the depth and scope of policy goals and objectives vary greatly between different cities.
William Fulton and Paul Shigley, Guide to California Planning (Point Arena, CA: Solano Press Books, 2005), 103125.
The City of Berkeley outlines simplistic policies for its community garden program in both the Environmental Management Element (Policy EM-34 Local Food Systems) and the Open Space and Recreation Element (Policy OS-8 Community Gardens) sections of the general plan. Although the proposed actions are brief and encourage positive initiatives, they fail to address how policies will be carried out. From a planning point of view, broad encourage and promote statements lack tangible deadlines, goals, and means for achievement. While such statements are common among comprehensive plan policies, they are lofty without more substantive information. For instance, EM-34 Local Food Systems states: “Promote seed distribution, lead testing, and composting programs for community gardens.”27 This point lists goals broad in scope, but fails to recommend how they will be achieved. Missing reasoning behind the infrastructure, finances, physical resources, outreach schemes, and processes for developing partnerships between organizations, Berkeley’s policies are more idealistic than implementable.
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.
City of Berkeley Planning & Development. “Open Space and Recreation Element.” Accessed April 18, 2011. http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/contentdisplay.aspx?id=494
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 detailed Open Space Plan (2002-2006) that contains a Community Gardens section. The Open Space Plan includes comprehensive goals and in-depth recommendations for various aspects of community 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 more
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
than 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, and easily modeled after. For instance, a goal within the plan’s Maintenance and Support section is to “reinforce and systematize basic maintenance services to community gardens citywide.”30 The corresponding recommendation is to “continue regular removal of trash by the Parks Department and expedite a program for the Public Works Department to include such items in its regular contracted waste removal process.”31 Although simple, these policies are clear and executable – making them effective and preferable to more vague policies. Regardless of their scope and depth, several cities across the United States have included urban agriculture supported policies and programs into their comprehensive plans. Cities include San 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 urban agriculture may borrow, adapt, or modify preexisting content from other cities. When developing comprehensive plan polices, cities may also look to nonprofit and research-based organizations that specialize in food planning and urban agriculture advocacy. The National Policy and Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity (NPLAN), has created model
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).
comprehensive plan language “to protect and expand community gardens.”33 Cities can use this as a base to build upon for their needs. For NPLAN’s complete model comprehensive plan language, see Appendix A. In general, comprehensive plans are broader and less legally defined. Therefore, zoning ordinances should be developed to enact the technical aspects of urban agriculture planning policies.
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-specific regulations intended to implement the policies of the general plan as they apply to every single parcel of land.”34 Zoning dictates the use, bulk, and impact of development activities based on their designated use district. Regulations pertain to specifications such as building density and coverage, location, setbacks, and even landscaping. Overall, zoning ordinances do not exist to limit landowners, but rather to segregate incompatible uses. Unfortunately, existing zoning ordinances that fail to incorporate urban food system and agricultural principles can hinder urban agriculture. Landscaping boundaries may limit landowners’ abilities to grow food around their homes. Accessory restrictions may prevent
NPLAN. “Establishing Land Use Protections for Community Gardens.” (2010): 9. William Fulton and Paul Shigley, Guide to California Planning (Point Arena, CA: Solano Press Books, 2005), 103128.
community gardeners from erecting fences and tool facilities. And health and permitting laws may stop urban farmers from selling their products locally. While some cities have allowed urban agriculture as a variably permitted use, many have yet to establish urban food production as a uniformly codified use in its zoning laws – hindering its application and permanence. Therefore, enacting zoning ordinances that streamline the legal aspects of urban agriculture is necessary for successful establishment and long-term operation. Currently, many zoning ordinances define urban agriculture in terms of its location, operation type, size, height, accessories, and sales. The American Planning Association also suggests that planners define urban agriculture by the intensity and extent of a municipality’s desired agricultural activities.35
Intensive Extensive in Area Rural or periurban farms and associated agricultural activities Less Extensive in Area Urban farms, farmers markets, and composting operations
Less Intensive Backyard and community gardens, limited livestock, and farmstands Backyard and community gardens
By identifying desired operations – livestock, crop size, location, sales – a municipality can decide how urban agriculture should be categorized in terms of planning policies. The
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.
American Planning Association states that “urban agriculture can be treated either as a district or as a use category.”37 Therefore, cities have the opportunity to classify urban agriculture as a district, use, or both in its zoning code. A district is an area of space with distinguishing characteristics. Examples include industrial, residential, commercial, or open space districts. Defining urban agriculture as a zoning district requires planners to specify where these areas will be located within a city, and what uses will be permitted within these areas. More specifically, urban agriculture can be designated 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 its zoning ordinance. Completed as of June 2010, these guidelines define districts in terms of various 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 or
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.
more individuals or may be farmed collectively by members of the group and may include common areas maintained and used by group members. (b) “Market garden” means an area of land managed and maintained by an individual or group of individuals to grow and harvest food crops and/or non-food, ornamental crops, such as flowers, to be sold for 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 top of 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 Uses Only 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 Uses Only 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 information where the sponsorship information is clearly secondary to other permitted information on any particular sign, 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 children's play areas; (e) buildings, limited to tool sheds, shade pavilions, barns, rest-room facilities with composting toilets, and planting 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 Regulations Uses and structures in an Urban Garden District shall be developed and maintained in accordance with the following regulations. (a) Location. Buildings shall be set back from property lines of a Residential District a minimum distance of five (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 not exceed fifteen percent (15%) of the garden site lot area. (d) Parking and Walkways. Off-street parking shall be permitted only for those garden sites exceeding 15,000 square feet in lot area. Such parking shall be limited in size to ten percent (10%) of the garden site lot area and shall be either unpaved or surfaced with gravel or similar loose material or shall be paved with pervious paving material. Walkways shall be unpaved except as necessary to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities. (e) Signs. Signs shall not exceed four (4) square feet in area per side and shall not exceed six (6) feet in height. (f) Seasonal Farm Stands. Seasonal farm stands shall be removed from the premises or stored inside a building 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 are taller than four (4) feet, and shall be constructed of wood, chain link, or ornamental metal. For any garden that is 15,000 square feet in area or greater and is in a location that is subject to design review and approval by the City Planning Commission or Landmarks Commission, no fence shall be installed without review by the City Planning Director, on behalf of the Commission, who may confer with a neighborhood design review committee, if one exists, so that best efforts are taken to ensure that the fence is compatible in
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 urban agriculture offers flexibility in food production types, physical infrastructure, artistic expression, recreational use, and even seasonal sales. Thus, Cleveland’s zoning code serves as a solid example for defining Urban Gardens Districts and other independent agricultural districts across the United States. Other cities, such as Boston, MA and Portland, OR have too protected urban agriculture under designated subdistricts. Both municipalities have chosen to place these subdistricts 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 Portland's 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.40
Find Law. “Cleveland Zoning Code: Urban Garden District.” Accessed April 18, 2011. http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/clevelandcodes/cco_part3_336.html 40 Leah Erickson et al. “Urban Agriculture in Seattle: Policy & Barriers.” Report for University of Washington certificate program in Environmental Law and Regulation. (2009).
The National Policy and Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity (NPLAN) has written model zoning ordinance language for establishing urban agriculture subdistricts within larger open space districts. Municipalities can use this model as a simple base to shape their zoning ordinances. For NPLAN’s complete model zoning ordinance language for subdistricts, see Appendix B. While urban agriculture-based districts and subdistricts are extremely important, they place emphasis on community-level food production versus at-home, residential growing schemes. For this reason, NPLAN asserts that urban agriculture should be an “approved use of land in residential, multifamily, mixed-use, open space, industrial, and any other districts.”41 When 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 for urban agriculture, do not have to be freshly delineated. A use is a permitted, conditional, or forbidden activity or development type within a district. Permitted uses are categorized as either primary or accessory. A primary permitted use is the principle activity or use of a property, as defined in the zoning ordinance. An accessory permitted use is the secondary activity or use of a property, as defined in the zoning ordinance. Some accessory uses require conditional use permits.42
NPLAN. “Establishing Land Use Protections for Community Gardens.” (2010): 11. America Planning Association. “Practice Urban Agriculture: Zoning for Urban Agriculture.” Zoning Practice 3 (2010): 14.
Sanctioning urban agriculture as a zoning use requires planners to specify parameters on agricultural 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 urban agriculture uses belong within the city: open space, parks, government spaces (City Hall, departments, etc.), industrial, residential, and other. Some cities that have created urban agriculture 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; permitted in industrial and low-density residential districts, and allowed as a conditional use in mediumdensity 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 Service44
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 44 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
In September 2010, Seattle’s City Council implemented zoning changes that permit urban agriculture as a use in virtually all districts. In residential districts, small urban farms (less than 4,000 sq ft) are permitted as an accessory use without a permit; large urban farms (greater than 4,000 sq ft) require a conditional use permit. In commercial districts, urban farms are permitted as a principle or accessory use (less than 10,000 sq ft in NC1 zones, less than 25,000 sq ft in NC2 zones, and any size in NC3 and C zones). And in industrial districts, urban farms are permitted as a principle or accessory use.45 A few months later in December 2010, Mayor Richard Daley proposed amendments to Chicago’s zoning ordinance in order to better meet the goals addressed in the Food Systems Report (created by the Chicago Food Policy Advisory Council and the city’s Department of Zoning and Planning) and GO TO 2040, a sustainability-centered regional plan developed by Chicago’s Metropolitan Agency for Planning. The proposed amendments broadly tackle issues of food access. More specifically, Mayor Daley’s proposed amendments better integrate urban agriculture and officially recognize it as a permitted use. The amendments define urban agriculture sites as community gardens, or commercial gardens and greenhouses, as discussed below.
Urban Food Policy. “Chicago’s Urban Agriculture Zoning Proposal.” Accessed April 18, 2011. http://www.urbanfoodpolicy.com/2011/01/chicagos-urban-agriculture-zoning.html
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 by community organizations (nonprofit, civic, or public). In residential districts, community gardens are restricted to less than 18,750 sq ft. In park and open space districts, community gardens can be greater than 18,750 sq ft.47 The effectiveness of Chicago’s proposed zoning ordinance and protocols are questionable. The amendments may restrict the size of preexisting agricultural operations48 – currently many established urban farms in Chicago exceed the proposed size limitations. Other restrictions include accessory size, composting materials and sourcing, processing, storage, and sales.
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_amendmentwouldnouri shurbanagriculturecitywise.html 47 Urban Food Policy. “Chicago’s Urban Agriculture Zoning Proposal.” Accessed April 18, 2011. http://www.urbanfoodpolicy.com/2011/01/chicagos-urban-agriculture-zoning.html 48 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-urbanfarming-urban-agriculture
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 by the Mayor’s amendments. The Chicago Food Policy Advisory Council (CFPAC) argues that the amendments specifically set unnecessary limits on urban agriculture in residential districts, size and sale of community gardens, and composting materials.50 Seeking alternatives, CFPAC discusses how barriers to produce sales have been addressed in other cities’ zoning codes. For example, Kansas City allows home and community gardeners to sell whole and uncut produce from their on-site growing locations during a defined season. (CSA and large scale farmers must obtain permits to sell produce on-site.) In December 2010, Mayor Gavin Newsom and the San Francisco Planning Commission also proposed amendments to San Francisco’s zoning ordinance that permit gardens (both noncommercial and commercial) and consequent produce sales. Planning Code 102.34 defines urban agriculture as neighborhood agriculture or urban industrial agriculture. Neighborhood agriculture is less than 43,560 sq ft (1 acre) and includes community gardens, community supported agriculture, market gardens, and private farms. Urban industrial agriculture is greater than 43,560 sq ft (or smaller parcels that do not meet the standards for neighborhood agriculture)
Urban Food Policy. “Chicago’s Urban Agriculture Zoning Proposal.” Accessed April 18, 2011. http://www.urbanfoodpolicy.com/2011/01/chicagos-urban-agriculture-zoning.html 50 Chicago Food Policy Advisory Council. “Proposed Recommendations.” Accessed April 18, 2011. http://www.chicagofoodpolicy.org/CFPAC%20Response%20to%20Urban%20Agriculture%20Zoning%20Amendmen t.pdf
and includes larger scale food production.51 Designations are based on size and performance criteria (produce sales, equipment storage, etc).52 Because urban agriculture is greatly defined by size and use, contention and disagreement often form in trying to define these areas. The San Francisco Urban Agriculture Alliance criticizes the proposed amendments based on compost site setback 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”53 However, the proposed amendments have yet to be adopted. The public hearing process began on February 17, 2011. More generally, in creating a comprehensive zoning ordinance, it is important to consider codes, regulations, and licenses as they pertain to local, state, and federal laws. As discussed previously, the National Policy and Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity (NPLAN) has created model zoning ordinance language for establishing urban agriculture as an approved use. Although the model specifically discusses community gardens, cities can use it to amend their zoning ordinances. The model is unique because it takes into account issues relating to the Americans with Disabilities Act compliance, Environmental Site Assessment (ESA), and guidelines for operating rules and fair management.54 The Americans with Disabilities Act
Urban Food Policy. “Chicago’s Urban Agriculture Zoning Proposal.” Accessed April 18, 2011. http://www.urbanfoodpolicy.com/2011/01/chicagos-urban-agriculture-zoning.html 52 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/mayorproposes-code-amendment-for-urban-agriculture-san-francisco 53 San Francisco Urban Agriculture Alliance. “SF Urban Agriculture Zoning Proposal.” Accessed April 18, 2011. http://www.sfuaa.org/urban-ag-zoning-proposal.html 54 NPLAN. “Establishing Land Use Protections for Community Gardens.” (2010): 12.
ensures protections and equal access to those with disabilities. And Environmental Site Assessment involves waste, soil, water, and chemical testing at a development site. In combination with operational guidelines, these added measures account for social and public health concerns not addressed by other municipalities. (For NPLAN’s complete model zoning ordinance language, see Appendix C.) Outside of district or use definitions, other municipalities have incorporated general standards 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 best use for the community. Sacramento has altered its residential landscaping requirements to allow for flexibility in landscape design and function. This includes everything from plants grown to locations plantable (front yards, side yards, etc).56 Other cities’ zoning ordinances delineate restrictions 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 urban agriculture, people must implement tangible improvements. Therefore, organizations play a critical role in actualizing urban agriculture within a community. They facilitate funding,
PHLP. “Land Use and Planning Policies to Support Community and Urban Gardening.” (2008). PHLP. “Land Use and Planning Policies to Support Community and Urban Gardening.” (2008).
communication 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, citizen groups, entrepreneurial programs, and educational institutions. Government departments reside over the planning infrastructure and legal enforcement of urban agriculture. As discussed previously, they are directly responsible for implementing policies and codes, establishing city gardening programs, and creating supportive resources. Decision-making bodies currently work within offices planning, agriculture, parks and recreation, open space, neighborhood interest, nutrition, education, sustainability, and environment. Some specific examples include Board of Supervisors, City Council, Department of Neighborhoods, Food and Drugs Code, Planning and Development Department, and Office of Sustainability.58 Nonprofits facilitate community interest and engagement with specific goals and programs. Across the country, many nonprofit organizations work to support urban agriculture. They advocate for all aspects of urban agriculture (and related facets), including regional health and nutrition, land trusts, elementary school gardening, school lunch programs, local foods, roof and yard gardening, food justice, CSAs, obesity prevention, and food banks. More importantly, many nonprofits manage urban agricultural programs in cities – securing funds and government
Amelia Conlen. “Urban Agriculture in Seattle: Organizational Roles and Needs.” Community Environment and Planning, University of Washington. (2009). 58 PHLP. “Land Use and Planning Policies to Support Community and Urban Gardening.” (2008).
partnerships to enact their objectives. Examples include NeighborSpace in Chicago, IL, Community Action Coalition in Madison, WI, P-Patch in Seattle, WA, GreenThumb in New York, NY, and Friends of Portland Community Gardens in Portland, OR.59 Grant foundations (nonprofit, private, or government) provide individual and communities with financial resources to incorporate urban agriculture into their lifestyles. Like nonprofits, they usually operate within a mission and specific set of goals. Grant foundations are excellent for financing start-up resources (land, equipment/tools, seeds, soil, etc.), educator stipends, public gardens maintenance and staff, and other forms of assistance. The Center for Civic Partnerships’ California Healthy Cities and Communities program financially supports community gardens across California.60 (See Appendix D for detailed table.) Other sample grant foundations include the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Community Food Projects fund, Ben & Jerry’s Foundation National Grassroots Grant Program, Annie’s Grants for Gardens, and Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation. Citizen groups are stakeholders in the community. They directly represent and advocate for their special interests. Groups may include farmers, agriculture experts, food and nutrition specialists, residents concerned with zoning restrictions, elementary educators, etc. These voices are critical in establishing an equitable and comprehensive planning framework for urban agriculture, because they represent the interests of those affected.
PHLP. “Land Use and Planning Policies to Support Community and Urban Gardening.” (2008). Twiss et al. “Field Action Report - Community Gardens: Lessons Learned From California Healthy Cities and Communities.” American Journal of Public Health 93 (2003): 1437.
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 Los Angeles. Since its inception in 1992, FFTH has been owned and managed by Crenshaw High School students. FFTH delivers natural products made from the produce grown in their own converted garden.61 The organization donates 25 percent to those in need and sells the remainder. In a report, the Corporation for Educational Radio and Television said, “Fifty percent of the profits go back into the organization to keep it running and fifty percent is awarded through scholarships to student managers upon high school graduation. To date, over $250,000 in scholarships have been generated.”62 FFTH and other entrepreneurial programs demonstrate how urban agriculture can meet market demands to deliver local community benefits. Finally, educational institutions are responsible for teaching community members about gardening and agriculture. More specifically, these organizations educate individuals about why urban 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-up funds, where to garden, and how to understand legal restrictions. Programs may cater to different audiences, such as elementary school children, senior citizens, or non-English speakers. Additionally, Master Gardeners are an important aspect of educational efforts. As defined by the Washington State University Master Gardener Program and the King County
Jerry Kaufman and Martin Bailkey. “Farming Inside Cities: Entrepreneurial Urban Agriculture in the United States.” 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
Master Gardener Foundation, Master Gardeners provide community members with plant information, garden management advice, problem diagnosis, training classes, resources, and events.63 Essentially, Master Gardeners serve their communities as overseeing educators and goto experts. Master Gardener programs can be facilitated through educational institutions and nonprofits, as demonstrated in King County, or government agencies as they so choose. As demonstrated by the infrastructure of organizations discussed, strong networks surround the social and political aspects of urban agriculture. Therefore, such diverse stakeholders and experts in the community should be drawn on to create food policy councils. In general, food policy councils are defined as advisory boards that moderate local food policies and access issues.64 However, the exact mission, goals, and stake-holder make up of these councils vary. They exist at the state, regional, county, and local/city levels.65 Over the past 10 years alone, over 35 food policy councils were founded in North America.66 These councils not only broadly “strengthen local and regional food systems,”67 but work to ensure that the development and maintenance of urban agriculture is both equitable and representative of the community as a whole. Food policy councils’ collaborative endeavors should establish, implement, and regulate planning policies and laws as they pertain to urban agriculture. This involves monitoring
King County Extension and WSU. “Master Gardeners.” Accessed April 18, 2011. http://king.wsu.edu/gardening/mastergardener.htm 64 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.html 66 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.
existing projects, advocating just policies, outreaching, and providing financial and educational resources for community members.68
Robert M. Pederson and Aileen Robertson. “Food Policies are Essential for Healthy Cities.” UA Magazine, March 2001, 10 -11.
3.0 Assessing Framework Feasibility
3.1 Challenges to Implementation
Several barriers limit successful planning for urban agriculture. These challenges are based on the physical, economic, and social demographics of a community: Physical limitations constrain growing varieties. This includes weather, seasonal variation, soil quality, fresh water access, moisture, sunlight, and so on. These limitations are not totally changeable because they are inherent to the permanent and physical location of an urban 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 agriculture on many levels. From a planning perspective, insufficient finances may limit resources available for the development of policies, laws, and programs. Inadequate funds may also limit the establishment of agricultural spaces (both public and private), land resources, start-up assistance, equipment, tools, seeds, soil, and infrastructure. These limitations can be offset by municipal budgetary 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 works to implement just, sustainable, and nutritious food systems, also suggests that municipalities
support individuals by providing tool banks, seed grants, grower micro-credit, community production facilities, loans, and insurance.69 Finally, social and population demographics are critical. They are shaped by individual wealth, cultural background, language, employment, education, housing, and access to information. Demographics shape the needs, wants, and demands for planning, as well as the execution of these measures. As previously discussed, food policy councils are essential for acknowledging varying demographics, educating and outreaching to individuals, creating community-wide comprehensive policies, and implementing accessible programs. Population density may also impact urban agriculture programs, in terms of community garden space, tools, training, and funding. For municipal gardening spaces and resources, individuals typically submit an application to the responsible or sponsoring government agency. However, applicants may be waitlisted for extended periods of time. As a result, these individuals may not be able to start growing food immediately.
Food insecurity threatens communities across the United States, so accessible and sustained urban agriculture practices must be rapidly realized in planning efforts. Municipalities benefit from developing and implementing a planning framework for urban agriculture because
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
policies, 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 document provides an overview of broad policies for planners, comprehensive plans, zoning ordinances, and organization infrastructure, based on existing practices and suggested plans. All the discussed policies, laws, and programs range in scope, depth, detail, and clout at the discretion of those who have developed them. As evident, municipalities prioritize varying aspects of planning, development, and agriculture, are comprised by different stakeholder demographics, reconcile distinct community values, and respond to diverse criticism. Planning schemes have both beneficial aspects and areas that need improvement. However, municipalities as a whole are using planning measures to promote local food systems and protect urban agriculture for community health and empowerment.
Amelia Conlen. “Urban Agriculture in Seattle: Organizational Roles and Needs.” Community Environment and Planning, University of Washington. (2009). American Farmland Trust. “Farming on the Edge Report.” Accessed April 18, 2011. http://www.farmland.org/resources/fote/default.asp American Planning Association. “Planning and Community Health Research Center.” Accessed April 18, 2011. http://www.planning.org/nationalcenters/health/food.htm American Planning Association. “Policy Guide on Community and Regional Food Planning.” (2007): 2-7. America Planning Association. “Practice Urban Agriculture: Zoning for Urban Agriculture.” Zoning Practice 3 (2010): 5-6. Anne Bellows, Katherine Brown, and Jac Smit, “Health Benefits of Urban Agriculture.” (2003): 1-12. Boston Parks and Recreation Department Open Space Plan 2002-2006. “Open Space Management Mission: Community Gardens.” 262-275. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Food Deserts.” Accessed April 18, 2011. http://www.cdc.gov/features/fooddeserts/ CFSC. “Andy Fisher, Hot Peppers & Parking Lot Peaches: Evaluating Farmers’ Markets In Low-Income Communities.” (1999): 6. 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. 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-codeamendment-for-urban-agriculture-san-francisco Chicago Food Policy Advisory Council. “Proposed Recommendations.” Accessed April 18, 2011. http://www.chicagofoodpolicy.org/CFPAC%20Response%20to%20Urban%20Agricultur e%20Zoning%20Amendment.pdf 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 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_a mendmentwouldnourishurbanagriculturecitywise.htmlCity 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 Clara Irazabal and Anita Punja, “Cultivating Just Planning and Legal Institutions: A Critical Assessment of the South Central Farm Struggle in Los Angeles.” Journal of Urban Affairs 31 (2009): 5-10.
Corporation for Educational Radio and Television. “Food From the ‘Hood.” Accessed April 18, 2011. http://www.certnyc.org/ffth.html 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 Find Law. “Cleveland Zoning Code: Urban Garden District.” Accessed April 18, 2011. http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/clevelandcodes/cco_part3_336.html Jerry Kaufman and Martin Bailkey. “Farming Inside Cities: Entrepreneurial Urban Agriculture in the United States.” Lincoln Institute of Land Policy Working Paper (2000). Kami Pothukuchi. “Personal Communication.” Wayne State University (2001). King County Extension and WSU. “Master Gardeners.” Accessed April 18, 2011. http://king.wsu.edu/gardening/mastergardener.htm Lane County Food Policy Council. “Who We Are.” Accessed April 18, 2011. http://www.fpclanecounty.org/ Laura Lawson. “The South Central Farm: Dilemmas in Practicing the Public.” Cultural Geographies 14 (2007): 611-616. Leah Erickson et al. “Urban Agriculture in Seattle: Policy & Barriers.” Report for University of Washington certificate program in Environmental Law and Regulation. (2009). Michael Hamm and Anne Bellows. “Community Food Security and Nutrition Educators.” Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 35 (2003). NPLAN. “Establishing Land Use Protections for Community Gardens.” (2010): 9-12. PHLP. “Land Use and Planning Policies to Support Community and Urban Gardening.” (2008). Resources Centres on Urban Agriculture & Food Security. “What is Urban Agriculture?” Accessed April 18, 2011. http://www.ruaf.org/node/512 Robert M. Pederson and Aileen Robertson. “Food Policies are Essential for Healthy Cities.” UA Magazine, March 2001, 10-11. Ryerson University Centre for Studies in Food Security. “Food Security Defined.” Accessed April 18, 2011. http://www.ryerson.ca/foodsecurity/definition/ San Francisco Urban Agriculture Alliance. “SF Urban Agriculture Zoning Proposal.” Accessed April 18, 2011. http://www.sfuaa.org/urban-ag-zoning-proposal.html Schukoske, Jane. “Elements to Include in a Community Garden Ordinance.” Community Greening Review (2000). Twiss et al. “Field Action Report - Community Gardens: Lessons Learned From California Healthy Cities and Communities.” American Journal of Public Health 93 (2003): 1437. Urban Food Policy. “Chicago’s Urban Agriculture Zoning Proposal.” Accessed April 18, 2011. http://www.urbanfoodpolicy.com/2011/01/chicagos-urban-agriculture-zoning.html USDA National Agricultural Library. “Dietary Guidance: Ethnic/Cultural Food Guide Pyramid.” Accessed April 18, 2011. 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 USDA Nutrition Insight. “The Quality of Children’s Diets in 2003-04 as Measured by the Healthy Eating Index-2005.” (2009): 2. William Fulton and Paul Shigley, Guide to California Planning (Point Arena, CA: Solano Press Books, 2005), 103-128.