San Diego’s Urban Agriculture Ordinance Sprouts New Business Opportunities
Above: This spring marks the first anniversary of a city ordinance that lets residents keep chickens, goats and bees in their backyards. The relaxed homesteading rules have had a major impact on business at City Farmers Nursery in City Heights. Video by Brian Myers.
He visits the grocery story just once every three months, relying instead on the nursery for 98 percent of his food.
By Brian Myers
April 17, 2013
Bill Tall, whom neighborhood residents adoringly call “Farmer Bill,” said he’s seen an increase in sales as he’s adapted his business to fill a niche created by the new rules.
“Before the new changes in the ordinances, we had a lot of people that were interested in raising their own food, having their own chickens, bees, goats and stuff,” Tall said. “They would do it kind of stealth. They would come in and get a few baby chicks that we sold, but we didn’t sell feed and feeders and all. Now people are able to do it legally, with certain parameters. It’s really grown.”
Residents can now keep chickens — but not roosters — two beehives and de-horned mini goats in their backyards as long as they’re kept far enough away from neighboring structures. Since the changes went into effect last March, Tall has been selling feed and supplies and offering classes on raising animals and growing your own food.
“I feel as though the ordinance change has given us a chance and I don’t want to see the chance being blown and taken away from us,” Tall said. “It’s really important that people know what they are doing.”