Pro Grow? Please Show!
Urban Agriculture set to grow with your help on March 24th!
Your input can help Spokane continue on a progressive path toward a more sustainable community. The City Council will hear testimony and possibly vote on two important ordinances that empower City residents to grow more of their own food, and would open the option of selling some of it from their property. The Spokane Planning Commission recently unanimously recommended approval, and City Council President Ben Stuckart has been an active sponsor, convening community members over the past year to develop these ordinances in a way that suits the needs and preferences of our residents.
One of the ordinances has to do with Market Gardens and the sale of produce from a person’s home. The other ordinance deals with animals. It modifies the existing Animal Keeping Ordinance to allow for the addition of more agricultural animals, like milking goats, and separates the number of domestic animals allowed on a property from those considered agricutural. That distinction actually helps many of the City’s residents who currently have pets and chickens to come in line with codes they may not have been aware they were violating.
Some of you may remember the Community Building bringing Novella Carpenter to town in 2009. Author of Farm City and The Essential Urban Farmer, she talked about her trials and lessons learned with urban food production in Oakland, CA. Her work was also featured in Vanity Fair Magazine in 2012 – pretty stylish for vegetables and chickens. Spokane’s proposed ordinances reflect a continued local and nationwide interest in weaving food production back into a day-to-day lifestyle. Last week’s New York Times article on ‘Agri’hoods in Arizona, and a new housing development outside Fort Collins, CO showcase two examples of a growing public demand for a more local food supply, and the willingness of citizens to personally get their hands dirty.
Whether or not your household would take advantage of the changes in Spokane’s codes to allow for more local food production, it is good for the resilience of the City. Growing your own food is one of the best routes to healthier eating, and eating on a budget; both are important topics in our community. And, this type of activity spawns the need for supplies to support it, which equals new business opportunities in our area – small farming equipment, animal feed, vet care, and more.
Please show your support with public testimony on Monday, March 24th at the Spokane City Council Chambers. The meeting begins at 6pm and each person has three minutes to share comments. If that date and time are not convenient, you can share your input via email from now through March 23rd. Using the email address, [email protected], will reach all council members with your note of support.