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AHA improves the health and well-being of Wake County residents by facilitating and supporting community initiatives.

Urban Ag in Raleigh: Continue to Show Support!

AHA and partners continue to work with Raleigh municipal leaders to ensure that urban agriculture is an oppportunity city-wide for our community. This North Raleigh News article highlights the situation and need. You can help in three ways:

1. Read, sign, and share this petition: Goals are focused on  two main issues. First, we would like Community Gardens allowed as Principal Use in Residential Zones, especially R-10, without the need for a Special Use Permit. The $200 fee for a special use permit is cost prohibitive to many community groups and garden start-ups. Just as prohibitive is the research, paperwork and documentation necessary to submit a Special Use Permit Application. These are time-consuming and present an additional burden to those who would benefit most from nearby gardens. Community gardens are known to contribute to public health, environmental health, and community health, and these benefits come by allowing opportunities to garden wherever people live, especially within walking distance! (In the current UDO draft Community Gardens as Principal Use would require a Special Use Permit in Residential Zones.)

Second, we are calling for the allowance of Urban Farms as a Special Use in all Residential Districts as a Principal Use. Urban farms bring economic opportunity, and can be important drivers of a local food economy as well as energizers of the urban fabric around them. A Special Use Permit, in this case, is important so that the farmers, the city, and nearby residents can all work together on the right size and type of urban farm for a particular location. Not every farm is appropriate for every site, and the Special Use process will help ensure the right farm in the right place. (In the current UDO draft, Urban Farms would be prohibited as Principal Use in Residential Zones.)

2. Share your stories with us!
AHA and partners in the Raleigh Urban Ag Work Group (Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, N.C. Cooperative Extension, Raleigh City Farm, Sixth Sun and others) are collecting stories and specific examples of the urban agriculture that you want to do.

Perhaps you’re already farming or gardening, or maybe you’ve run into zoning barriers. Maybe you just need the land to get started. We are looking for examples to show to City Council, so that they can see where the real barriers and the real opportunities are. We especially need your urban ag stories if you were working on or looking at a lot in a residential zone, and if you wanted to make your garden or farm the Principal Use on the lot – no house, no other uses going on. Just a garden or a farm on a lot. Please contact Erin White with your stories this week! 

3. Join us at the City Council committee hearing!
Urban Ag will be discussed by the Law and Public Safety Committee on Tuesday Dec 11 at 3pm. The meeting will be held in Conference Room 305, Raleigh Municipal Building, 222 W. Hargett Street, in Raleigh. Your presence alone will send a message to the committee, letting them know that this is an issue that matters to Raleigh. This is an important advocacy moment!

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