San Francisco is about to become the first city in the U.S. to incentivize urban farming as part of the state’s Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act.
Effective September 8th, any empty lots that are turned into urban agriculture for a minimum of five years will save the owners thousands of dollars each year in property taxes.
The Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act “encourages would-be urban farmers to turn trash-covered empty parcels into gardens with the assurance they won't be forced out after putting in a lot of time and money,” reports SF Gate.
And San Francisco is going to be the first city to put the law into effect as its Board of Supervisors has passed the ordinance. But other California cities could follow suit, which is sure to bring a smile to Assemblyman Phil Ting’s face. The Democrat assemblyman from San Francisco headed up the act in hopes of bringing more urban farming to the state. “The bill was conceived as a way to help cities reduce blight and give residents more opportunities to grow food, even to raise livestock where health codes allow it,” explains SF Gate. “To qualify, a lot must be at least one-tenth of an acre with no permanent dwellings.”
There’s such a demand for growing in the city that San Francisco residents are struggling to find plots in community gardens, officials report. The new legislation could help to change all that. And both Sacramento and Los Angeles are reportedly going to be keeping a close eye on the expanded urban farming in San Francisco. If successful, those cities could adopt the measure as well. With the drought now reaching unprecedented levels in the nation’s largest agricultural state, urban farming may offer some much needed support in keeping healthy food growing.
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Image: Piush Dahal