California’s newly signed Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act, which will go into effect on January 1, 2014, provides tax incentives for property-owners who allow urban agriculture to take place on their land. In an interview with KQED, Caitlyn Galloway, co-director of Little City Garden, a farm in San Francisco, said, “For businesses like ours, the potential for having a much longer-term arrangement with a property owner could completely change the playing field.” In San Francisco, where the local food movement is already strong, this new legislation could mean big things for urban agriculture projects. Below, Food Tank highlights ten of these projects located in the Bay Area.
1. Bay Localize “ldquo;confronts the challenge of climate instability, rising energy costs, and recession by boosting the region’s capacity to provide for everyone’s needs, sustainability, and equitability.” Their Green Your City program encourages rooftop gardening, composting, and local gardens.
2. Center for Urban Education and Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA) began in 1994 to “educate urban consumers about sustainable agriculture and to create links between urban dwellers and local farmers.” CUESA’s programs aim to educate San Francisco residents about where their food comes from and how to “grow, select, and prepare it.”
3. City Slicker Farms promotes solidarity around food. It began in 2001 by West Oakland residents in response to the lack of fresh food in their community. City Slicker Farms currently operates a Community Farmer Market Program, Backyard Garden Program, Urban Farming Education Program, and takes part in advocacy efforts.
4. Community Grows is “an environmental education program serving high-needs youth, especially those living in public housing in San Francisco.” Young people benefit from “green job training” along with nutrition, gardening, and cooking education.
5. Grow City “investigates the relationship between landscape architecture, planning, and agriculture.” Grow City works to change the way people think about traditionally divided urban and rural zones and explores the “physical strategies of transforming [the] food system into one that is more secure, sustainable, and fair.”
6. Little City Gardens is an “experiment in the economic viability of small-scale urban market-gardening.” Little City Gardens has been in their current three-fourths of an acre garden space since 2010. They currently grow salad and cooking greens, vegetables, herbs, and operate an educational center while showcasing “a working model of food production in San Francisco.”
7. Produce to the People consists of three programs: Backyard Harvest Project, Community Gardens Project, and Youth Employment & Education Program. All of which are “dedicated to aiding food security and health of [the] community through garden and food education, the creation of green jobs for youth, and the growth, harvest, and dispersal of organic backyard and community grown produce.”
8. San Francisco Urban Agriculture Alliance (SFUAA) “promotes the growing of food within San Francisco and the associated goals of member organizations through advocacy, education, and grassroots action.” SFUAA provides resources for urban agriculture organizations and has pushed for legislation, including the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act, to improve farming conditions and reduce restrictions for growers in San Francisco.
9. Slide Ranch, which became a non-profit in 1970, “connects the Bay Area with farm-based environmental education that focuses on the principles of sustainable agriculture and environmental stewardship.” Slide Ranch provides an opportunity for schools and community organizations from San Francisco to explore their farm, gardens, and learn about the ecology of Marin Coast.
10. Urban Sprouts’ mission is to “cultivate school gardens in San Francisco’s under-served neighborhoods.” It began with a 2003 doctoral thesis project, investigating the effect that gardening and vegetable consumption had on student’s behavior. The study found marked changes in students’ outlook towards the environment and healthy eating. Currently, Urban Sprouts works with seven different sites, including the San Francisco Juvenile Justice Center.