City Council approves Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The San Diego City Council unanimously approved Monday Councilmember Scott Sherman and Supervisor Ron Roberts Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone, a program that will help expand community access to fresh produce through a property tax incentive for urban agriculture on vacant land. 

The new program will provide communities throughout the entire City an economic tool to incentivize the development of community gardens on eyesore properties. An Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone reduces the property tax of a participating parcel owner in exchange for a minimum five year contract for the usage of the site for urban agriculture. 
The new measure is made possible as a result of State Assembly Bill 551 introduced by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D) which was signed into law during the 2013 state legislative session.
"I appreciate the support of my Council Colleagues for approving my measure that will incentivize the development of urban agriculture in all San Diego neighborhoods as well as give residents and property owners an additional tool to transform blighted property in their communities," said Councilmember Sherman.
"Urban agriculture has the potential to expand economic opportunities, improve community health, and help fight against obesity and diabetes," said Board of Supervisors Chairman Ron Roberts. "I want to congratulate Councilman Sherman for positioning the city of San Diego to be the first to use this new tool. I hope others follow suit."
"The new Agricultural Incentive Zone will help further our mission of developing and maintaining an equitable, healthy, and sustainable food system in San Diego," said Elly Brown, Alliance Director of the Food System Alliance.
"This new initiative will help bring fresh fruits and vegetables to residents in Southeast San Diego, many of whom live within what is considered a food insecure area," said Diane Moss, CEO of Project New Village.
"The new program will not only bring much needed produce to communities in need, it will also help introduce the joy of farming to those who may have never had the opportunity to grow their own produce," said Eric Larson, Executive Director of San Diego County Farm Bureau.

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