Grow Riverside Conference to Examine Economic, Community Benefits of Local Sustainable Agriculture in Urban AreasJanuary 14, 2015 | Robert Puro
This year’s conference at the Riverside Convention Center sets its focus on “The Future of Local Food” with the goal of sharing vital lessons and information with many municipalities.
Using Riverside’s significant accomplishments over the past 12 months as a model, the conference will examine the City’s initial steps to build and strengthen its local food system as well as explore solutions to help other cities and local governments establish and bolster their own similar initiatives.
Founded in 2002, the LA Neighborhood Land Trust is a nonprofit organization that identifies underutilized space in a 475-square miles area in and around Los Angeles, and transforms it into green space for urban agriculture and community recreation projects.
Real estate costs are high in Los Angeles, so the work of the Trust moves forward one small lot at a time.
“Our little land trust is good with conserving half-acre properties and creating green space in a community that has never existed before,” says Mark Glassock, director of special projects for the Trust. “In terms of our acreage, we are quite small, but in terms of our impact and our reach in terms of population, I believe we’re actually very, very large.”
U.S. to See More Urban Farming in 2015 as Economics Improve, Consumer Demand Increases and More Incentives are AddedDecember 10, 2014 | seedstock
Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) December 10, 2014 – Urban agriculture is expected to maintain strong growth in the United States in 2015 as cities and states provide more incentives, more start-up farmers enter the field, smaller operations improve their profitability and consumer demand for locally grown food remains strong, according to Seedstock.com.
The growth outlook for land, production and jobs connected with urban farming was generated from Seedstock’s recent annual conference at UCLA where more than 250 farmers, entrepreneurs, policy makers, investors and others gathered to hear experts discuss current factors driving robust local food systems in dozens of urban settings across the country.
It’s easy to label urban farming as the solution to serious societal problems like food deserts, economic development, and obesity. But not all urban farming is alike. Some methods are bound to be more successful, profitable, and impactful than others. The question is which ones are giving cities the “biggest bang for their buck,” so to speak, and which ones are more good for morale?
The answer to this question is complicated. Urban agriculture in U.S. cities is evolving to include operations on a wide spectrum that ranges from small-scale community gardens to high-tech aquaponic and vertical farms.
Los Angeles-headquartered From Lot to Spot is true to its name—the organization transforms unused, vacant lots into vibrant spots of green space and parkland.
According to founder and executive director Viviana Franco, From Lot to Spot has spearheaded several urban and community garden initiatives throughout Southern California, including several in Riverside.
Franco says Riverside hired From Lot to Spot as a partner in building up the gardens, specifically in capacity building and leadership processes. These gardens include Tequesquite Community Garden, Arlanza Community Garden , and East Side Community Garden at Emerson Elementary School.
Urban agriculturists and sustainable food enthusiasts toured across the Los Angeles metropolitan area Tuesday, the first day of Seedstock’s Reintegrating Agriculture conference, visiting a broad array of urban agriculture taking root in the city
First stop: The rooftop of the Jonathan Club, where the venerable old private social club has installed a rooftop farm in partnership with Farmscape to supply its restaurant. Visitors were treated to a variety of pastries and fruit drinks derived from ingredients grown right on the rooftop.
San Francisco broke new ground this past July by becoming the first California city to allow for tax incentives on land used for urban farming. The city’s Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone Ordinance piggybacks on California State Assembly Bill 551, which permits state municipalities to create the zones. Under the ordinance, property owners must commit to using their land for agricultural purposes for five years or more. The city’s Planning Department determines a parcel’s eligibility, and the Assessor-Recorder is responsible for determining the change in property tax.
While the legislation has been embraced by many in the city’s urban farming community, it’s also ruffled some feathers among those concerned about affordable housing in the city.
The urban farming movement finally appears to be coming of age in the nation’s capital.
No longer just a novel idea, it’s now on the cusp of receiving institutional support from DC’s city leaders–that is if its backers can get votes to line up in their favor.
Earlier this year, District Council Members David Grosso and Mary Cheh introduced a piece of legislation called the DC Urban Agriculture and Food Security Act of 2014 that would not only provide a framework for urban ag, but actively encourage it while fostering the consumption of local foods by underprivileged residents. Their bill seeks to achieve these goals through a three-fold strategy of identifying vacant city-owned properties that could be used for farming, incentivizing private landowners to lease out space to farmers through a tax abatement and offering a tax break for fresh produce donated to food pantries and shelters.