Cincinnatians Poised to Grow More Food Thanks to New Zoning Chapter

June 27, 2019 1:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Green Umbrella Press Release:

Cincinnati, OH – On June 26, the Cincinnati City Council voted unanimously to adopt a new zoning chapter that addresses urban agriculture in the city. The new chapter is the result of a two-year collaborative process among multiple city departments and the Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council, an initiative of Green Umbrella, to develop rules that expand opportunities for individuals and communities to grow their own food and start businesses.

“We have long supported urban agriculture and community gardens because they provide a host of benefits,” stated Michaela Oldfield, Director of the Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council. “Gardening is a form of recreation, provides access to healthy foods in neighborhoods where there may be limited fresh produce, is an opportunity to earn income and can activate empty lots and reduce crime.” 

A steering committee comprised of staff from departments of planning, zoning, public health, law, environment and sustainability and stakeholders of the Food Policy Council, conducted extensive research to catalogue all the potential activities associated with urban agriculture and community gardens, inventory the components of Cincinnati and Ohio code that would apply, and examine how other cities across the country address the growing, processing and sale of food. They found that while the code allowed for some growing of food and raising of animals, it was scattered and unclear, sometimes redundant and didn’t cover many emerging components of urban food growing such as indoor hydroponics.

Both national and local advocates actively encourage urban agriculture as a climate adaptation and community food security strategy. The City’s Green Cincinnati Plan, adopted in 2018, calls for regulatory changes to encourage growing and consuming more food locally and reducing food waste in landfills. “We were proud to participate in this process. This revision helps the city move forward on implementing the Green Cincinnati Plan, which is one of many steps we’re taking to make Cincinnati the most sustainable city in the country,” commented Larry Falkin, Director of the City’s Office of Environment and Sustainability.

The code revisions will go into effect in ninety days. Anyone who is concerned about their current compliance or possible impacts from the changes can reach out to the Buildings and Inspection Department. The Food Policy Council and Office of Environment and Sustainability will host listening sessions in late July to educate interested people on the new rules and other resources that are available in the region to operate successful community gardens and farms.

For more information or to get involved, please contact Michaela Oldfield at michaela@greenumbrella.org.

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