Mayor Thomas Menino announced on Monday the release of draft urban agriculture zoning to support the growth of farming citywide and the start of a series of community meetings to review the recommendations.
The zoning would create what city officials describe as "clarity and predictability" regarding food growing and fish farming, as well as hen and beekeeping in the city. It also expands locations for farmers markets and farm stands, and introduces a soil safety protocol. Eleven community meetings will be held in June and July to vet the draft recommendations before the final zoning is completed. A Twitter chat is also planned for those who cannot attend a meeting in person.
“Urban agriculture is an innovative way to improve city life,” Menino said in a statement. “Farmers make good neighbors and better our communities. Growing food in city limits means better access to healthy food, while growing a sense of neighborhood unity and greening our city.”
In January 2012, Menino launched the Article 89 zoning process. The Boston Redevelopment Authority and the Mayor’s Office of Food Initiatives held 17 public meetings with the Mayor’s Urban Agriculture Rezoning Working Group made up of farming advocates, experts and interested citizens appointed by Menino in summer 2010 to advise and guide the rezoning initiative.
Most agricultural activities are not allowed in Boston under current zoning code. By addressing a wide range of these activities, city officials argue that Article 89 will increase access to healthy food, promote community building, and help beautify neighborhoods. A copy of Article 89 is available for download on the Boston Redevelopment Authority website.
A breakdown of the zoning: