urban ag resolution — please support!

April 13th, 2017 by caitlyn

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On Monday April 17th, the Board of Supervisors’ Land Use Committee will consider a resolution that will promote secure access to land for urban agriculture projects in San Francisco. The resolution asks City departments to prioritize urban agriculture as a preferred land use for parcels that, meeting certain criteria (still permeable, flood prone, backed by strong community support, etc), are deemed particularly suitable for farming. The resolution also calls for City purchase and allocation of such parcels wherever applicable. This is a crucial acknowledgement of land access & lease security as repeatedly cited barriers for communities interested in urban agriculture.

This resolution is an important next step for San Francisco. Let’s not lose all of our farmable space!

San Francisco — please join us!

Monday April 17th
(we’re item #2 on the agenda, so please arrive on time)
City Hall, Room 250

Come with a brief comment expressing your support of urban agriculture in SF. Our supervisors on this committee want to hear from you! And of course if you can’t make a comment but are still available during this late-lunch hour, come anyway. Your presence in the room will be a great show of support in itself. (Public comment is invited for each individual item, so you won’t need to stay for the entire committee meeting.)

Note: if passed by the Land Use Committee, the resolution will move to the full Board for a vote in the coming weeks. There will be more opportunity for letter writing there, but PUBLIC COMMENT (and in-person turnout in general) is the most impactful way of communicating support at this stage.

This resolution, introduced last fall by Supervisor Avalos and now carried by Supervisor Ronen, comes on the heels of Little City Gardens’ lease termination and closure late last year. It also more broadly spotlights the larger reality that:

WE NEED FARMS and we need farmers. We must consider our cities — where so many people are — as crucial hotbeds for education, exchange and dialogue about both.

The number of unbuilt, farmable parcels in San Francisco is irreversibly dwindling. Quite honestly, there isn’t that much bare soil left. Thoroughly identifying and evaluating what land remains feels pressing and time sensitive, and imagining realistic, City-supported ways for urban ag to navigate through an impossibly competitive real estate climate is essential.

As we saw at the public hearing for 203 Cotter St last fall, in the form of letters, testimonials, and in person comments, there is energetic support for urban agriculture in San Francisco, even (especially!) in these tumultuous political and economic times. People find connection and empowerment through tending to soil. The social, health, environmental and educational benefits that urban farming offers city residents can’t be understated — and I think are still yet to be fully explored in San Francisco.

Personally speaking, I’m heartened to know that our almost seven years of experience at Little City Gardens, and the extended community of supporters that grew from those efforts (YOU!) are informing this symbolic next step. Working on this with Supervisor Ronen and other advocates has been helping me through these early spring months. I miss the farm deeply, I know many of us do. These clean soft hands of mine feel foreign. I miss our neighbor Bob.


An excerpt from the resolution:

BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Supervisors urges the Department of Real
Estate, the Recreation and Parks Department, the Planning Department and Public Utilities
Commission to evaluate possible sites, including surplus properties and possible sites
available for acquisition, for their potential suitability for urban agriculture…

Read the full draft of the resolution here.

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