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Case Study: Boston Urban Farm Retailing Ordinance

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While urban farming was catching on in many cities, changes to a Boston ordinance — Article 89 — allowed urban farmers to sell direct.

by Barry Greenfield
Efficient Gov
March 28, 2017


Boston residents had been pushing lawmakers to support urban farming legislation to increase accessibility of healthy produce to low-income neighborhoods. In response, the city passed Article 89 and the mayor signed it into law. Prior to the passing of Article 89, farmers were not permitted to sell the goods derived from city gardens. Likewise, local restaurants could not buy from farmers within city limits. The legislation expanded changes to the city’s zoning code that supported community gardens to also allow for urban farms.

Not only did Article 89 lift restrictions on growing and selling produce within Boston, but it also detailed all the steps farmers must take to properly build an urban farm and launch a local business in line with other city laws to avoid fines or penalties. It provides farmers the guidance they may need to translate growing practices into an urban environment, such as apartment building rooftops.

Furthermore, Boston officials identified city-owned pieces of land that would be suitable for farming as well as seeking out proposals from farmers interested in setting up a farm in the city. Farmers will be able to purchase up to 6,000 square feet plots of land for $100 to get their farms up and running, so long as the land is used for farming for the next 50 years.

Read the complete article here.