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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Supes OK Farming Ordinance, Giving S.F. the Nation's Most Progressive Urban Ag Rules

Posted By on Wed, Apr 13, 2011 at 1:42 PM

click to enlarge Urban farms like Little City Gardens are now able to sell what they grow without having to obtain a costly zoning exemption. - DAVIDSILVER/FLICKR
  • davidsilver/Flickr
  • Urban farms like Little City Gardens are now able to sell what they grow without having to obtain a costly zoning exemption.

After yesterday's unanimous vote by the Board of Supervisors, San Francisco now has the most progressive laws on urban agriculture in the nation. The new rules ― introduced by Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor David Chiu ― make it easier and cheaper to grow and sell produce on private land in the city, wiping out the need to obtain a conditional-use permit and opening up every city neighborhood to urban ag.

"There's nothing quite like this anywhere else," Dana Perls, co-coordinator for the San Francisco Urban Agriculture Alliance, tells SFoodie. "This really puts San Francisco at the forefront." The new rules allow urban farms like Little City Gardens, Brooke Budner and Caitlyn Galloway's 3/4-acre farm in a residential neighborhood in the Outer Mission, not only to sell to restaurants and at farmers' markets, but to set up a farmstand on their property. And in an amendment approved last month by the Land Use Committee, farmers are allowed to sell value-added products, jam or pickles, say, made from the things they harvest.

The zoning ordinance won't affect well-known urban ag centers like Alemany or Hayes Valley Farm, since those are on public land. But, Perls says, "I think this will have trickle-down impact on people who work at Alemany or Hayes Valley who'll be much more likely to farm their own land. It shows that San Francisco is now being supportive of people wanting to try this out, either as a viable business or as a way of feeding their family."

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook. Contact me at John.Birdsall@SFWeekly.com

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