FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone Officially Approved Today by City of San Diego
SAN DIEGO, February 13, 2018 – City of San Diego City Council officially approved the establishment of an Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone within the City of San Diego today. Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone is a California bill passed in 2013 which aims to increase land access for urban agriculture through the use of vacant, privately-owned land. Landowners with vacant parcels under 3 acres will be eligible to receive a property tax incentive if leasing with a farmer or a community garden organization for a minimum of 5 years. City of San Diego follows several cities which adopted the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone bill in California including Sacramento, San Franciso, and Los Angeles. There are over 2000 parcels in City of San Diego which qualify under this bill.
“This tax incentive is one of our priority policy initiatives we have been promoting here with Cities in San Diego County," says Elly Brown, Director of San Diego Food System Alliance. "It is a win-win-win – access to healthy food, education and economic development opportunities, beautifying an underutilized vacant lot, and community building.”
Advocacy for Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone for City of San Diego was a team effort and emerged from the community. The policy was initially brought forward by Kim Heinle and Amy Zink of Bayside Community Center along with community members who wanted to expand their successful Linda Vista community garden. Councilmember Scott Sherman championed the policy within the City of San Diego and Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone was initially approved by City Council back in February 2016. However, due to the process of creating a tax framework with the County of San Diego, the policy implementation was delayed. The ordinance was revised and brought forward again to City Council last month for first reading.
Diane Moss, Managing Director of Project New Village spoke at City Council last month. “We’ve seen wonderful things happen, we not only grow food, we grow community. People said it couldn’t be done. We are now growing Japanese cucumbers down on Market Street,” said Moss. “We think this is a good idea to encourage urban ag in communities that are food insecure. We think it would be a real boost in neighborhood supply chain.”
The San Diego Food System Alliance co-sponsored AB465 (TING), the 10 year extension of Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones last year, in partnership with SPUR, PANNA, and Sacramento Urban Ag Alliance. "We did this in anticipation that our local jurisdictions will support urban agriculture in our communities. We are excited to see more food being grown across San Diego," says Brown.
In the near future, City of San Diego City Council will be examining Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone in detail to consider bringing forward an amendment to exclude usage for marijuana production purposes. San Diego Food System Alliance and members will be working with the City of San Diego on the successful implementation of this program.
San Diego Food System Alliance is a regional collaborative with a mission to develop and maintain an equitable, healthy and sustainable food system in San Diego County. For more information, visit sdfsa.org.