urban ag land access
via Little City Gardens. A public hearing is scheduled for tomorrow. CA greenhorns, take action!
Access to land is a crucial issue for small scale farming, both urban and rural, and as we’ve previously talked about here, insecure land tenure has been one of the biggest obstacles we’ve come across in our three years of operating this farm. Running a successful, financially sound business has been particularly challenging without a reliable long term lease, as it has greatly limited the kind of investment we can safely make, both physically (in the form of long term perennial crops, thorough irrigation setup, and necessary infrastructure like hoop houses and cold storage) as well as personally (how we are able to commit to and shape our lives around this project). Because the land we farm is currently owned by a developer, we never quite know when our month-to-month lease will be terminated, or when our rent will suddenly spike in order to more adequately cover the owner’s rising costs. Also, in our particular case, the property we’re using is ill-suited for development due to it’s irregular orientation (a long, narrow lot surrounded on three sides by backyards) and a very high water table. Unfortunately, these factors are negligible when it comes to the property’s market value, and the property taxes are exorbitant. It’s hard to imagine commercial farms thriving in cities, providing food at prices comparable to their rural counterparts, when urban land is exclusively and without exception valued in terms of its potential real estate.
Full story, including how to take action, here: http://www.littlecitygardens.com/2013/04/land-tenure-legislation/