I used to fear the policy process was like carrying a boulder up a mountain only to witness it slip hopelessly back down. Yet, when I hit upon the need for policy change to enable the right to grow food in Oakland, my outrage at there being any barriers outweighed my doubt. When I got involved with the amazing and engaged community of people in the East Bay who are working towards self determination, resiliency, and preserving their cultures through food, I was inspired. Back in 2011, when they showed up in force to a planning meeting rolling 300 deep, I was impressed and knew this is the time to make change. I am therefore particularly hopeful that the immense changes happening in Oakland will support a stronger, healthier and activated community of residents. Perhaps we can even stem the tide of displacement and safeguard our neighborhoods.
In a historic show of support, Oakland Planning Department will present proposed zoning regulations that will make significant changes in allowing Oaklanders to grow, harvest, and sell their own food, ‘by right.’ After years of grappling with prohibitive permits, residents would be able to create community gardens outright in all but a few select commercial and industrial zones of Oakland. The City will also seek to remove permitting requirements for the growing & selling of produce in other areas, including residential neighborhoods.
This is an exciting moment in Oakland for urban agriculture. If you live in Oakland and can show support, join us all at the Planning Commission meeting! I’ll be there organizing with my Oakland Food Policy Council hat on (bright stickers for people, talking points, etc).
What: Planning Commission to hear urban ag policy proposal Item #5 (but item #1 and 3 got pulled so we’ll be up sooner)
When: Wednesday, September 17th, 6PM
Where: Oakland City Hall, One Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Hearing Room No. 1 in Oakland, CA 94612
Read more about it from the Oakland Planning Department Bulletin:
Updates to Urban Agriculture Zoning
City of Oakland sent this bulletin at 09/16/2014 11:42 AM PDT
|Updates to Urban Agriculture ZoningPlanning staff have been working on several new developments pertaining to Urban Agriculture.
First, Planning Staff has issued a Zoning Code Bulletin which clarifies the current regulations covering Community Gardens, Crop and Animal Raising activities, and Home Occupations, including the definition and scope of these terms, as well as where such activities are permitted, conditionally permitted, or prohibited in various zoning districts in the City of Oakland. This Bulletin will be in effect until the code changes below are adopted by City Council in the early fall. Click here to read the Zoning Code Bulletin.
If you have questions regarding the Bulletin, please contact Scott Miller at (510)238-2235 or at email@example.com.
Secondly, the Oakland Planning Commission will host a public hearing on a proposed citywide update to the City’s Agricultural Regulations (in combination with other miscellaneous Planning Code, Map, and Height Area changes) this Wednesday, September 17, at 6 pm. Click here to view the Planning Commission agenda. Click here to view the staff report, including the proposed detailed code amendments.
Urban Agriculture-related changes include a modification to the definition of “Community Gardens” and the creation of the following two new Land Use Activity Types to replace the City’s existing “Crop and Animal Raising” Activity Type: “Limited Agriculture” and “Extensive Agriculture.”
By separating the current “Crop and Animal Raising” regulation into two different agricultural land use categories based on level of intensity and the potential for off-site impacts, and redefining Community Gardens as the activity of one or more persons, the proposed Planning Code amendments will vastly increase the public’s ability to practice small-scale agriculture throughout the City.
The proposal includes revisions to the Permitted Activity Charts throughout the Planning Code to specify when “Community Gardens,” “Limited Agriculture,” and “Extensive Agriculture” are a Permitted, Conditionally Permitted or Prohibited Activity. The links below provide summary charts that list the proposed level of allowed activity in each Zoning code designation.
If you have questions regarding the Code Amendments, please contact Ed Manasse firstname.lastname@example.org or (510) 238-7733.