Legislation to Facilitate the Permitting of Businesses Incidental to Residential Edible Gardens in Berkeley, CA
SUCCESS AT BERKELEY PLANNING COMMISSION! (May 2012)
Berkeley’s residential gardens are a significant untapped resource for the production of fresh food for our community. The Berkeley Edible Garden Initiative seeks to facilitate economically viable edible gardens in Berkeley – to support the wellbeing of our community, of those who cultivate and harvest our food, and of our planet.
Many people have been inspired in recent years to plant small vegetable plots in their backyards. While this can provide delicious accents to a regular diet, few are able to invest the time to gain expertise in farming – and to do the farming itself – such that garden plots become a steady, substantial and reliable food source for their families.
The model we seek to enable allows families and individuals to leverage their investment in edible gardening know-how, infrastructure, materials and labor by sharing the bounty of their gardens with neighbors or friends – in exchange for other goods and/or monetary support.
While there are no limits on what can be grown in a residential Berkeley garden, the sale or trade of garden produce – even a cooperative arrangement between a few neighbors and friends – requires an onerous “Moderate Impact Home Occupation” permit. The need to obtain this costly and time consuming permit acts as a bar to small scale, virtually no-impact “Urban CSA” types of enterprise.
The legislation being introduced amends the Zoning Code’s permitting process for Moderate Impact Home Occupations, which already includes an exception for Teacher Related Home Occupations. A second exception is added for Non-Processed Edible Home Occupations, closely paralleling the terms of the exception for home teachers.
The text of the proposed amendment can be read here. We hope you will join us in supporting the adoption of this Zoning Code amendment as it moves through the process of approval by the City. Thank you for adding your name to our supporters!
Schools & Community Leader
Founder, Berkeley Edible Garden Initiative
Berkeley City Councilmember, District 4
Founder, City Slicker Farms
Preservation and Environmental Activist
Comments from Supporters of Berkeley Edible Gardens Initiative:
“Thank you for helping build the bridge between talk and action, ideas and reality, soil and sustenance! Count me in.”
“This seems like the most reasonable and constructive thing to do… a win/win for all!”
“Building a hyper-local economy of food helps connect neighbors and provide a sustained network in the event of disaster.”
“I am a backyard gardener in a block with many bounteous backyard veggie gardeners. I support this legislation”
“This would advance community building, access to nutritional foods at better prices, and allow children to see how their food is grown.”
“Most Berkeley residents have been experiencing mounting pressures from rising food and fuel prices over the past few months. The passage of the proposed amendment would allow residents of the city to support themselves and their families with the literal fruits of their own labor. Individuals should be empowered to seek out and create profitable and sustainable lifestyle choices and not only enhance their own standard of living, but also serve to enhance the environment and the local community.”
“Cities should grow much more of their food within city limits – to save transport cost, to have more green open space, to engage residents in an earth-connected activity, and to enable them to eat fresher, healthier, non-processed food.”
“This is good for everyone and will enhance our neighborhoods with greater connection with each other, health, and better sustainability”