Big Win for Community Gardens in San Diego

by on June 9, 2011 · 0 comments

in Culture, Economy, Environment, Organizing, San Diego

The NewSchool of Architecture and Design (NSAD) Department of Landscape Architecture Design Clinic is joining Victory Gardens San Diego (VGSD) to develop a community garden in Serra Mesa, April 2011.

On Tuesday, June 7th, there was a big win for community gardening in San Diego. The San Diego City Council voted unanimously to allow community gardens by right in commercial and residential zones, without costly and complicated permits, and they would be allowed everywhere outside most coastal areas.  Individual garden water meters, locks and fencing will no longer be required.

The new ordinance needs to go before the Coastal Commission, which is expected within the next 30 days.  One view holds it will be in effect within 45 days.

This clear and earthy victory for gardeners was the result of a two year campaign by the One in Ten Community Garden Permit Committee and other food advocates and the folks they organized. Countless letters, phone calls, research, and meetings over this time has resulted in an unambiguous vote by the Council. It’s also a demonstration to San Diego of what grassroots democracy can accomplish.

(Here’s the link to Newschool of Architecture and Design from photo to the right.)

Here’s SignOnSanDiego’s report:

By Nathan Max / June 7, 2011

SAN DIEGO — Things just got a whole lot easier for city residents who want to try their hand at having a green thumb. The City Council unanimously approved new regulations Tuesday afternoon allowing residents to start community gardens without expensive permits. The gardens can now be established in all commercial and residential zones.

“It should not be difficult to create something in a neighborhood that provides healthy, nutritious foods, that serves as a catalyst for neighborhood renewal, (and) that creates cross-cultural interactions,” Councilman Todd Gloria said. “There are so many things beyond just the food that community gardens are valuable for. Building strong neighborhoods is not necessarily about roads and sidewalks and buildings. It’s about connecting people and creating community.”

Under the new ordinance, gardens will no longer be required to have their own water meters, be fenced off or locked. It will apply to all territory east of Interstate 5 and some territory west of the freeway.   Some land west of the interstate is subject to California Coastal Commission jurisdiction. The city plans to submit its new regulations for Coastal Commission approval in the next 30 days.

For the remainder of the article, please go here.

Here’s what Adrian Florido at  the Voice of San Diego had to say as part of their analysis:

Residents or nonprofits will not need a permit to start a community garden. They’ll only have to follow certain rules like including a sign with the garden’s name and its leader’s contact information and have areas for storing equipment and trash. Farmers will have to pay for their water use, but will be allowed to sell their produce on site.

For years, advocates have been pushing for the creation of community gardens to promote local food production and healthy eating in urban communities nationwide. But in San Diego, those efforts were largely hamstrung by restrictions that banned gardens on all land zoned for commercial use and required a $5,000 deposit and lengthy permitting process for those in residential neighborhoods.

For the full Voice article, please go here.

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