California Boosts Small-Scale Urban Farming With Passage Of Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act

California Just Got A Whole Lot More Urban Farming-Friendly

We didn't think it was possible, but California just got a little greener.

On September 28, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act (AB 551) which authorizes tax breaks for land-owners who lend their property to urban farmers.

According to SPUR, the new support for urban agriculture will not only increase the usage of vacant, privately-owned land as productive farms, but it will also go a long way towards providing stability for farmers struggling to make it on borrowed land.

“Operating on a month-to-month lease means you never know what will happen tomorrow or the next day,” Caitlyn Galloway of San Francisco's Little City Gardens told KQED. “It makes smart investments in our business, like longer-term tools and infrastructure, much riskier.”

By sweetening the deal for land-owners, small-scale farms like Little City Gardens will have a better chance to thrive -- and benefit the communities that choose to opt in as incentivized zones.

Slow-local food tastes better, it's healthier for you, and it's better for the environment," Juan Carlos Cancino, a Greenhouse Partner and researcher behind the bill, told the Earth Island Journal. "When I see these types of gardens sprouting up throughout the city I am inspired by them, and am committed to helping expand this movement.”

The Incentive Zones Act is set to go into effect on January 1, 2014.

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