Wednesday, April 20, 2011

San Francisco Passes Landmark Urban Ag Commerce Bill

Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Contact: Mayor’s Office of Communications, 415-554-6131



San Francisco, CA— Mayor Edwin M. Lee today signed into law an amendment to
San Francisco’s planning code that will explicitly allow for “urban
agriculture” in all areas of the City and the sale of produce from urban
gardens in all non-residential zones.

“The Urban Agriculture Ordinance will allow for greater local food
production within City limits,” said Mayor Lee. “This legislation will not
only help support our community through the increased production of fresh,
locally grown produce, but will also revitalize vacant arable land and
create green jobs.”

“Urban agriculture provides significant health, environmental and economic
benefits,” said Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, who co-sponsored
the Ordinance. “This bill puts San Francisco on the map as a national
leader in urban agriculture, and is a tangible example of how government
can create more sustainable communities.”

The Urban Agriculture Ordinance amends the San Francisco Planning Code to
recognize various scales and intensities of local food production, from
small scale gardens to larger-scale urban agriculture. The legislation
allows for the sale, pick-up and donation of fresh food and horticultural
products grown on-site in all districts, and for the sale of “value-added
products” such as jams or pickles where the primary ingredients are grown
and produced on-site in all districts except districts zoned for
exclusively residential uses. Food and horticultural products grown that
are used for personal consumption remain unregulated.

“The Urban Agriculture Ordinance will help San Francisco grow healthy food
within our own boundaries,” said San Francisco Planning Department Director
John Rahaim. “The Ordinance establishes parameters for urban agriculture
that will ensure that these gardens are operated in a way that is
compatible with and complimentary to our City's urban neighborhoods.”

The San Francisco Planning Department, in coordination with the Department
of Public Health, Department of the Environment and San Francisco Public
Utilities Commission, worked with numerous community stakeholders to draft
the Ordinance.

“With this change, San Francisco makes it clear that gardens and urban
farms are welcome in all parts of the city. The new law not only
encourages people to connect with food and build community by cultivating
fruits and vegetables in their neighborhoods, but also allows
entrepreneurial gardeners to earn a little extra cash or to make a living
selling what they grow,” said San Francisco Urban Agriculture Alliance
(SFUAA) Co-Coordinator Eli Zigas. “We commend Mayor Lee, Supervisor Chiu,
and the Planning Department for their leadership on urban agriculture.”

The Ordinance is an instrumental part of the City’s efforts to encourage
local food production in the region. In July 2009, former Mayor Gavin
Newsom issued Executive Directive 09-03, Healthy and Sustainable Food for
San Francisco, which directed all City departments to implement actions
consistent with the goal of fostering local food production in San
Francisco. The Ordinance, co-sponsored by Mayor Lee and Supervisors David
Chiu, Eric Mar, Ross Mirkarimi and Malia Cohen, passed the Board of
Supervisors on April 12th.

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