Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Press Release: Somerville is now the first city in Massachusetts to pass an Urban Agriculture Ordinance
SOMERVILLE - Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone announced today that, following approvals by the City's Board of Aldermen (Aug. 16), Planning Board (Aug. 16) and Board of Health (Sept. 20), , Somerville is now the first city in Massachusetts to pass an Urban Agriculture Ordinance that establishes formal guidelines for urban farming and gardening, the keeping of chickens and bees, and other policies governing the growth and sale of agricultural products in an urban setting. Residents, non-profit agencies or businesses seeking to obtain permits to begin farming or keeping bees or chickens should visit the City's Urban Agriculture webpage: www.somervillema.gov/urbanag. Information on the initiative and upcoming events can also be found on the Urban Agriculture blog: somervilleurbanag.tumblr.com.
"As chair of the Land Use Committee of the Board of Aldermen, I am pleased to be able to say that the Committee held a number of meetings with substantial public input, and worked with the Administration to prepare a final ordinance that balanced the important goals of promoting and facilitating Urban Agriculture while protecting residents from potential negative adverse health or quality of life impacts," said Alderman at Large William White.
"The Board of Health is pleased to be part of Somerville's momentum in once again leading the way to encourage healthy local food options for our residents," said Chairman of the Somerville Board of Health, Brian Green. "As evidenced by a unanimous vote, our entire membership encourages this initiative, and we look forward to working with the administration as we grow this and other related programs."
"Every resident should have easy, affordable access to fresh, healthy foods, and we hope that through these recommendations and guidelines, our community will continue to embrace the movement to reconnect residents with their food source, and make healthier lifestyle choices," said Mayor Curtatone. "We also hope that, through this ordinance, Somerville can provide a a resource to other Massachusetts municipalities seeking to implement Urban Agriculture, sharing our best practices and tools to make programs like this a reality across the state."
In the last year, the City has worked with community partners to implement a number of related programs, such as an educational series entitled "Let's Grow Somerville," a City Hall Container Garden on the steps of City Hall, an Urban Agriculture Blog ("Somerville Loves Urban Gardening:" somervilleurbanag.tumblr.com), a Facebook group called "Somerville Loves Urban Gardening (SLUG), and community gardening and farming programs throughout the City.
Labels: This Just In...