Aug 5, 2014
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Urban farmers and gardeners in Richmond would have more flexibility to grow fruits, vegetables and other foods on a larger scale – and sell them to their neighbors — under an ordinance backed by City Councilmember Tom Butt, according to a report by KALW (91.7 FM).

Butt posted a web version of the radio station’s story on his Facebook page, a clear endorsement of lifting restrictions on urban farming in Richmond. Some residents say the city’s current rules are at odds with Richmond’s burgeoning slow food movement.  The draft ordinance, which won’t be seen by the full City Council until September, would allow urban gardeners and farmers with a business license to sell their products at temporary farmstands, according to KALW.

“It mainly provides a way that people can create urban farms or do urban gardening on a larger scale than just a backyard garden, and make it legal,” Butt told KALW.

Under the current planning code, “all of the use of vacant lots or front yards or city parks for growing food is illegal,” said Doria Robinson, executive director of Urban Tilth, the nonprofit managing 11 small farms and gardens in Richmond.

 “If it isn’t explicitly allowed, it’s disallowed, and right now we have no code addressing it, and so they say that it’s not allowed,” Robinson told KALW.

Butt has on multiple occasions called Richmond a food desert with few stores offering healthy options. He believes urban gardens would help solve that longstanding problem.


About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.