Reminder! The public hearing regarding zoning and urban agriculture is TOMORROW, Thursday February 17th at 1:30 pm at City Hall (Room 400). Please come and show your support for this important legislation! Let’s crowd the room and make it clear that San Francisco values agriculture as a very necessary component of our city!
1:00 PM – supporters meet on the steps of City Hall (in case of rain, we’ll meet inside by the information desk)
1:30 PM – Hearing begins in Room 400
2:30 PM – Estimated time for our issue to come up on the agenda (could be a little earlier or later)
A note about public comment: We encourage anyone who wants to speak at the hearing to do so. If you’re not into speaking, please don’t let that stop you from coming. Helping us pack the room is great too! If you are going to speak, please know that each individual’s public comment may be capped at 2 minutes to accommodate many people. Below are a few talking points that you might choose from. If you have connection to an existing garden, consider applying any of these comments to your specific experience:
- If the city wants to encourage urban agriculture, as Mayor Gavin Newsom committed to in his Healthy Food Executive Directive, removing barriers to sales will go a long way in encouraging gardeners to do their work and in allowing them a source of revenue to support it.
- Urban farms have been a benefit to many city neighborhoods by activating and beautifying neglected spaces.
- Allowing the sales of produce from gardens in the city will allow urban farmers to create and contribute to a more sustainable, self-sufficient food system.
- We need to remove zoning restrictions so that innovative urban agriculture projects can begin to generate new solutions to our systematic problems of food production and distribution.
- As the city looks at how to promote and encourage urban food production, we need to allow this kind of activity to happen anywhere there is vacant land, whether it be in residential or industrial neighborhoods. Much of the open, sunny land in San Francisco is in backyards. Allowing sales form these backyards will greatly increase the city’s capacity for food production.
- The amount of noise that a garden generates (whether it be a community garden or a small business) need not be more than that of a general landscaper.
- Most existing gardens do not create any more traffic than that of an apartment building.
- Not only do we need this zoning code to pass in order to promote the increase of urban farming, we also need to look at the issue of land value and design strategies to put some of our remaining open spaces into long term easements for gardening and farming. This will truly put us on the cutting edge of the nation’s urban agriculture movement.
We’ll see you there! Also, look out for our short interview about the legislation on KQED 88.5 tomorrow morning!