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Urban Farmers Sell Produce 'Legally' In Sacramento

Judith Yisrael talks with a customer at her family farm's produce stand. A new city ordinance that took effect April 23 allows urban farmers to sell the produce they grow. Lesley McClurg / Capital Public Radio

 

Judith Yisrael displays crops in woven baskets on a white folded table under a pop-up tent. She plumps the greens for turnips, radishes and beets. 

She straightens small colorful price signs as she warmly greets approaching neighbors.

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A new city ordinance that took effect April 23 allows urban farmers to sell the produce they grow.  Lesley McClurg / Capital Public Radio

The Yisrael family has been dreaming of this day since they converted a vacant overgrown lot into a garden several years ago.

Neat rows of crops flourish in the place of rampant weeds. 

It's a small oasis in the low-income neighborhood. Trash litters a neighboring front yard. A chain-link fence encloses the house across the street. But, the block feels light and cheery Thursday.

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The Yisrael family converted a vacant overgrown lot into a flourishing garden in Oak Park. A new city ordinance that took effect April 23 allows urban farmers to sell the produce they grow.  Lesley McClurg / Capital Public Radio

"All of our produce is organically grown and it's super local, like 50 feet away," says Yisrael.

People filter in throughout the morning. They opened at 10:00 a.m. They ran out of food by noon.

It's the first time since the 1950's that urban farmers in the city of Sacramento can legally sell produce from farm stands in their front yards. Before now, crops could only be sold from lots zoned specifically for agriculture. 

The new ordinance restricts mini-farms to three acres and stands can only operate Tuesdays and Saturdays. Judith Yisrael's stand is open Thursday because farm stands on vacant lots can operate anytime.

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The Yisrael family converted a vacant overgrown lot into a flourishing garden in Oak Park. A new city ordinance that took effect April 23 allows urban farmers to sell the produce they grow.  Lesley McClurg / Capital Public Radio

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Laura Anthony buys some veggies at the Yisrael Family Farm produce stand on April 23. Lesley McClurg / Capital Public Radio