We'd like to share some exciting progress on urban agriculture in Long Beach that we have led and collaborated on this year with community advocates, city departments, and community organizations.
Last May at City Council, I asked staff to explore the feasibility of implementing California's Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone Program in Long Beach. This program would give tax breaks to property owners that allow vacant properties to be used as community gardens or urban farms, as well as enhance Long Beach's emerging local food system.
That report is in! In order to create an Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone Program, once the program is reviewed by the Planning Commission, the City Council must pass a resolution that designates a lead agency to establish a local approval and administrative process.
The use of vacant lots for urban agriculture can increase access to healthy foods for residents, reduce emission from food transportation, educate residents on sustainable gardening practices, and prevent blight on vacant lots through illegal dumping. The Office of Sustainability has identified 88 vacant lots that could be eligible for this program!
This past year, we have also placed a large focus on urban agriculture by transforming under utilized spaces into community learning gardens and collaborated on health initiatives, including:
- The establishment of the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library Learning Garden
- The development of the District 9 Field Office Farm
- The creation of the monthly North Long Beach Crop Swappers' event
- The award of Cycle 2 funding of the Kaiser Permanente HEAL Zone Initiative
Join us on April 1st for a strategy session as we discuss the urban agriculture and other health initiatives coming up in Long Beach. We'll be meeting right after our monthly event with the North Long Beach Crop Swappers. Please RSVP for the event today by visiting our Facebook event page. We'll be joined by our partners from Long Beach Fresh and the City's Office of Sustainability.