Buying organic and local is proving to be more than the current food fad. While major food companies are racing to meet the demand in the aisles of grocery stores, farmers markets and community gardens are on the rise, especially in Sacramento. These local options offer lower cost produce, a chance to meet the people growing your food and even an opportunity to get involved.
AB-551 recently signed by Governor Jerry Brown could boost urban farming statewide. The bill would allow local governments and landowners to create Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones to turn blighted empty lots in to food producing community oases.
If landowners agree to growing food and not developing plots for at least 5 years they can expect a lower assessed value and property taxes. The plots must be between 0.1 and 3 acres in size and development does no include structures like tool sheds or education areas. Conventional pesticides and herbicides are banned, but those approved by the USDA National Organic Program are allowed.
While the City of Sacramento has expressed interest in participating, its citizens have already proven their dedication to urban farming and local organic food. Sacramento recently ranked as the No. 5 best city for urban gardening nationally in a study by NerdWallet. The city is also proclaimed to be the farm-to-fork capital of America and had a great turnout to the recent Farm-to-Fork Festival in September.
This once rural town is on a mission to reincorporate its farming roots in its urban areas.