Florida City Debates Urban Farming

Fort Lauderdale, a major part of Florida’s Miami metropolitan area and an important tourist destination, is currently debating new urban farming regulations that could help shape the movement’s future in Florida.

Urban farming is one of the fastest growing agricultural fads sweeping the country. By transforming unused, abandoned, and dilapidated urban buildings and properties, the urban farming movement seeks to rejuvenate economically depressed urban centers, create jobs and boost city revenue, and expand access to nutritious food to lower-income residents.

Next week, the Fort Lauderdale city council will vote on a provision allowing urban farming within city limits. While some municipalities have embraced the urban farming movement, Fort Lauderdale’s community seems deeply divided on the upcoming motion.

Some residents have cited potential damage to the city’s image and its quality of life if urban farming is allowed. Fort Lauderdale is currently one of the biggest tourist destinations in Florida, and some locals are worried that major urban farming projects could limit that industry.

Others are upset that the city council ordinance does not go far enough. The measure that will be voted on next week would allow community gardens in residential neighborhoods while restricting full-scale urban farming operations to commercial centers. The problem with this plan, urban farming supporters insist, is that commercial real estate is too valuable to make urban farming profitable.

As one of Florida’s major cities, the upcoming vote could influence other urban farming movements across the state and region.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer