urban agriculture resolution — passed!

April 28th, 2017 by caitlyn



On Tuesday, the SF Board of Supervisors reaffirmed the City’s commitment to supporting urban agriculture by unanimously passing a resolution that calls for the evaluation (and possible acquisition) of remaining suitable parcels of land in the city, and for publicly beneficial agriculture to be considered a prioritized land use whenever appropriate.

This is a moment to celebrate! This conversation would not be where it is without the overwhelming support and enthusiasm surrounding both Little City Gardens, and urban agriculture in general. This resolution reflects where urban ag has been in these past few years, including its proven unique community benefits, and where it still has the incredible potential to go if the right supports are in place. Read the final resolution text here.

The resolution’s significance:

While this resolution does not in itself make any new parcels available for agricultural use, it is nevertheless a significant gesture to have on record. It is an intention — a formal expression of policy — that marks the City of San Francisco’s continued enthusiasm for urban agriculture, as already previously expressed through key policy initiatives over the past decade. And, more importantly, it acknowledges that enthusiasm on its own does not make for a sustainable urban ag movement. We need pieces of land permanently devoted to agricultural use.

Urban agriculture as a priority:

One important point that came up in conversations leading up to the Board’s vote was around housing. As most of us are painfully aware, we are in the middle of a housing crisis in San Francisco, and affordable housing must be at the forefront of the City’s land use priorities. By outlining specific criteria, this resolution reflects the reality that not all vacant parcels are appropriate or feasible for housing development. (See 203 Cotter Street.) There are certainly a few remaining patches of soil out there in our dense city whose best and highest use can and should be agriculture (for example, the Portola District’s beloved 770 Woolsey, possibly the most historically significant agricultural parcel in the city). This resolution acknowledges that these remaining parcels must be identified and evaluated carefully, with urban agriculture’s extensive educational and community-enriching benefits in mind.

What’s next:

Now that this resolution has been adopted, the next step is to work with City departments (Real Estate, Rec & Park, SFPUC, DPW, Planning) to implement its intentions. We’ll request an extensive and thorough land audit and an evaluation of existing funds and policies relevant to the resolution’s goals. I’ll report back soon!

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