walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Urban Farming and Zoning in Bay Area and elsewhere

Obviously, one thinks instantly of Oakland, but SF is part of the discussion as well.


In order to sell what you grow in the city, SF was requiring an expensive permit. Meat animals were controversial, so they created a lightweight permit for small producers excluding meat animals. Oakland is in process and is trying to include meat animals.

I _loved_ Novella Carpenter's _Farm City_. I believe a healthy urban area includes food production. In the past, that was at the periphery, but our urban areas are a mostly low density environment in which it makes no sense to go all the way out to the periphery (which is currently often still very expensive residential anyway) when there is inexpensive arable land closer in. I sympathize with the controversy associated with slaughtering animals (especially in SF!), but I also think that we've industrialized meat production to the point that a swing back in the other direction makes a lot of sense.

ETA: And Chicago:


They're including aquaponics (fish + agriculture).


Emanuel is presenting it as a potential job creator and a way to deal with "food deserts". I'm not sure what to think of an article that starts with urban farms and ends with Wal-Mart.

ETAYA: And San Diego

In this case, the focus is food deserts, immigrants and childhood obesity. The farmer's market and urban farm are being developed together, and integrated with federal assistance (WIC and food stamps) through a local token currency.


Not just in the US: Berlin

Here, aquaponics on rooftops (including commercial rooftops).


New operation, presented as a low-intensity, healthy, rewarding hobby.

British Columbia (the idea that you need a permit to farm in the Nanaimo area seems, um, really wrong): http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2011/07/19/bc-lantzville-urban-farm-becker.html

In this case, farming on a residential plot in conjunction with a farmer's market and social activism. For Canadians, a decent chunk of excitement.

Still more: Minneapolis, as one might expect, recently passed a framework (they didn't call it that) for writing regulations for urban farming, but even they weren't prepared for a commercial egg raising operation next to a bike path and light rail.


The chickens moved when the local kids were a little too aggressive about getting into the coop, stealing eggs and throwing them at cars. (There's a solid reason for having onsite caretakers of commercial food raising operations, especially in high-traffic areas. Urban farm stories _always_ involve strategies for dealing with people wandering in and taking things.)

"Growing Lots has been converting industrial spaces, such as the parking lot next to Coastal Seafoods, into sustainable commercial farms since April 2010."

Here's some profoundly misguided commentary on urban farming:


Hey, we're _already_ low density. The idea is to actually _use_ the garbage strewn lots for something other than just sitting there waiting for the next boom. No one is proposing to stop "higher" use development to preserve an urban far much less create one. The goal is to covert nothing to something.

Trust a Harvard guy to pick on a black woman for supporting a reasonable activity (growing vegetables in empty spaces in city neighborhoods that have no access to healthy foods) by suggesting it is somehow inhibiting property developers from building high rises. Worse, the embedded assumption that we must ship either people or food is nuts. Okay, maybe not the best word.
Tags: food, our future economy today, politics, zoning

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