Legalize Urban Produce, Says San Francisco Mayor

Posted by Allison Arieff


Great news for those hoping to make a real go of it in urban agriculture: this week San Francisco's Mayor Gavin Newsom, together with the city's Planning Department, announced the introduction of a proposal to change the city's zoning code in order to allow gardening/farming in more parts of the city, as well as permit the sale of produce grown in gardens throughout the city. (You can read about the details here.)

The outgoing Mayor has been a strong advocate of urban farming, committing the City and County of San Francisco to increase its healthy and sustainable food supply in an executive directive last year, in which he stated that, "access to safe, nutritious and culturally acceptable food is a basic human right and is essential to both human health and ecological sustainability."

It's nice to see the follow-through. This eagerly awaited rethink of zoning policy would allow city farmers to utilize almost any area that occupies less than one acre for the production of food or horticultural crops to be harvested, sold, or donated. Private home, kitchen, and roof gardens would all qualify under the new "Neighborhood Agriculture Use" designation, as would community gardens, community-supported agriculture, market gardens, and private farms.


It's especially good news for the city's small entrepreneurial ventures like Little City Gardens, run by urban farmers Brooke Budner and Caitlyn Galloway in San Francisco's Mission District. The pair had been operating somewhat under the radar, providing artisinal salad leaves, braising mix, and culinary herbs to a local restaurant and neighborhood subscribers. Now they, and their many brethren, might just be able to make a living doing so.