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Urban Farming Vote Tuesday

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio
 

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

The Sacramento City Council is expected to vote Tuesday night whether to allow residents to use their land to grow fruits and vegetables for profit.


If the Council votes to allow urban farming, people who live in the city will be allowed to grow and sell fruits and vegetables grown in their back yards or on vacant lots they own or lease.

The ordinance would also allow produce stands on front lawns twice a week.

Matt Read with the Sacramento Urban Agriculture coalition says he knows of at least 40 people growing produce in their backyards now. He expects that number to increase once Hmong, Latino and Russian farms are identified.

"I think the numbers will be a few hundred people and we'll see how many stands. We're going to try to get a count of how many people using these stands.  It's just about getting out of the way and see what happens."

Council member Steve Hansen says urban farms should improve the city's overall health  and economy.

"We have a lot of people who go hungry on a day to day basis -especially children. we have food deserts in our city where people don't have access to fresh fruits and vegetables. But we also want to enable those folks to also be small business owners and to be able to grow and sell in a way that is healthy and thoughtful."

Some council members have expressed concern over vehicle traffic in neighborhoods with urban farms.

The farms would be no larger than three acres.

Matt Read with the Sacramento Urban Agriculture coalition says the ordinance is a good first step.

"We're gonna keep working to maybe scale back some of the restrictions that have popped up in the last few months or just work with them to make them more practical. "

If the council votes in favor of the ordinance, the city would ask Sacramento County to approve special property tax rates for vacant or blighted properties that are transformed into urban gardens.