Oakland Debates Urban Farming

Earlier this week, Oakland, California, passed a series of city ordinances allowing the sale of fruits and vegetables grown in residential property, essentially Okaying the beginnings of an urban farming movement.

Urban farming is the latest agricultural trend that is sweeping the nation. Rooted in the goal of scaling back the size of American farms and embracing the idea of smaller, local agricultural production, urban farming seeks to transform unused urban landscapes into small-scale farms. Purchasing and developing abandoned city property, urban farmers hope that local connections will help them survive a competitive farming market.

Oakland, California is the latest major city to join the movement. Starting November 3, residents will be able to legally grow and sell produce from their homes. Officially sanctioning the movement is the easy part. Next, city officials will need to decide on the limits of urban agriculture, setting size restrictions, zoning restrictions, traffic regulations, etc.

Also important is the decision to allow or restrict animal farming in urban areas. While meat raised and slaughtered in an urban farm would only be for personal use, state and federal law restrict residential meat processing, some animal rights activists are pressuring the city government to ban backyard slaughter, as they call it.

Whatever the end result, the decision to allow urban farming marks another major step forward for this innovative and pioneering agricultural practice.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer