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California passes legislation encouraging urban agriculture

Posted: October 8, 2013 |   Comments

( Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a piece of legislation that should make it easier for California cities and counties to encourage community gardens and small-scale urban farms. The legislation will allow municipalities to lower the assessed value and property taxes on plots of three acres or less if the owners pledge to dedicate the land to growing food for at least five years.

This should help the expansion and sustainability of urban agriculture, which is often at risk because of steep property taxes and development. It is voluntary for local governments to opt in to the program. Cities and counties that move forward to create "urban agriculture incentive zones" can expect a modest revenue loss from the lower property taxes, but the benefits to the community should be worth it.

With this legislation, it will be easier for cities to take unsightly empty or decrepit lots and transform them into gardens, providing nutrition and likely raising property values.

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