Urban agriculture improves access to fresh, healthy, affordable food, with decreased transportaion costs and lower carbon emissions. In December 2013, the City passed Article 89, a city-wide zoning article that allows for commercial urban agriculture in Boston. New farming endeavors will bring communities together, empower small entrepreneurs, and increase access to fresh food for Bostonians.
About Urban Agriculture
The Office of Food Initiatives supports urban agriculture in Boston. By transforming land into urban farms, this will enable citizens to grow food for themselves and to sell. This will increase the availability of fresh produce in Boston neighborhoods which is particularly important for low income neighborhoods that may not have sufficient access to healthy food. These farms will also improve the aesthetics of neighborhoods and bring neighbors together around gardens.
The Office of Food Initiatives worked with the Boston Redevelopment Authority and citizens for several years to make urban farming possible in Boston. The Mayor’s Urban Agriculture Working Group organized 18 public meetings and 11 neighborhood meetings to gather community feedback. In December 2013, Boston passed Article 89, a new addition to the city’s zoning code that allows for urban agriculture. Article 89 makes it possible for farmers to grow and sell their produce in the city.
Currently, the city is taking part in the Boston Urban Ag Visioning process which will bring diverse organizations to the table to create a vision for Boston around food production and distribution. This will help to enable farmer livelihoods, provide multiple access points for food, and determine how to create food access for low-income constituents. Representatives from all aspects of urban growing in the city will be engaged, including community gardeners, traditional farmers, gleaners, edible forest developers, farmers’ market reps, traditional and rooftop farmers, as well as food production folks.
The first step is to identify a plot of land or rooftop that would be appropriate for an urban farm. Like all new businesses, creating a business plan is recommended. Many permits and approvals will be required so it is important to prepare for that process.
For more informationon Urban Farming in Boston, click here.
Inspectional Services Department
Department of Neighborhood Development
Boston Redevelopment Authority
Local Food Promotion Program, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Office of Food Initiatives
617 635 0710
Boston Urban Ag Visioning