Due to strict laws and regulations within Sacramento, urban gardens have often been difficult to create and maintain. California State Assemblymember Steven Bradford has taken a huge step toward eliminating the legal roadblocks many urban gardeners face with AB 2561, or the California Neighborhood Food Act (CNFA). If it is passed into law, it will allow local farmers to grow fresh fruits and vegetables for sale or personal use. Its passage would mean the production of more local produce in the city and small farming enterprises creating jobs in neighborhoods. In addition, the CNFA will allow food desert communities throughout the state to grow their own fresh produce.
The California Neighborhood For Act has social, economic and political implications that could affect hundreds of people in low-income communities. Removing zoning barriers and legalizing front and backyard gardens will allow people to supplement their incomes with the profits from their produce. Besides providing people with better quality food, Urban Agriculture is drought-friendly. If edible gardens are planted in place of grass, decorative plants, or even vacant lots, it means using less water overall for bigger food returns.
This bill, if passed, will still force growers to follow agricultural and environmental standards. It will also restrict homeowner’s associations from limiting edible gardens on private property and infrequent “on-site sales”. Tenants of rental properties will also be allowed to grow edible gardens as long as it does not interfere with any other tenant’s property and the landscape is restored to its original state once it is vacated.
“The Neighborhood Food Act is a bold step to making urban agriculture an option for people throughout California,” says Katie Valenzuela, Senior Program Manager at Ubuntu Green, a Sacramento based group that has worked hard to rally support for this bill. “It is so simple in that it only restricts cities, counties, and homeowners associations from prohibiting residents from growing food in their front yard, back yard, or communal space if they so choose. Really, this is government getting out of the way of residents who want to take ownership over their food. If it passes, it would be a very exciting step toward improving access to healthy, fresh, local food.”
Support for this bill means more fresh, local fruits and vegetables for your family. To sign the petition, visit http://www.theselc.org/neighborhood-food-act.