City leaders and Sacramento need to embrace and vote for the Urban Agriculture Ordinance

The purpose of zoning ordinances is to keep property owners from losses due to neighbors conducting a commercial business in a residential neighborhood. That means your next-door neighbor can’t open a club in his garage, thereby filling your neighborhood with cars and traffic, not to mention amplified music. And it’s a good idea, for instance, to separate industrial, commercial and residential areas—for the most part—to keep noise down and to keep residential areas quiet and safe.

But current city ordinances make it illegal to sell the cucumbers you grew in your backyard. You can give them away—or, in the case of zucchini, you can’t give them away, so you take a bag into work hoping someone will take them before they rot—but you can’t sell them.

That’s a hardship in a number of ways, especially with the rise in foodie culture and demand for locally grown produce. Right now, in order to sell produce legally, urban farmers must have a 100-acre agriculture zone. That’s prohibitively expensive, not to mention unlikely.

On the other hand, the city’s peppered with vacant lots that could be small farms, stocking our tables with produce to warm any locavore’s heart.

And that’s why we encourage our readers to support the new Urban Agriculture Ordinance, which will be considered by the Sacramento City Council on March 17. A lot of work and research has gone into it, and it opens up possibilities for locally grown fruits and vegetables to be available in neighborhoods across the city. It’s sensible, it’s green and it’s humane. Let your council member know it’s time.