Another draft left over from July or August 2009!)
In July 2008, the Kansas City, Missouri City Council adopted an ordinance entitled the Climate Protection Plan, which commits the Missouri side of Kansas City to trying to implement recommendations to reduce greenhouse emissions and increase local food availability. There is quite a bit about food in the plan, which I wanted to draw your attention to. You can see the whole process, including recommendations and documents, online. Note the language in it:
Buildings & Infrastructure – Land Use Planning & Development
Recommendation #3 – Promote metropolitan food production using methods that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sequester carbon […]
Summary of specific issues
The industrial food system is heavily-reliant on fossil fuel inputs to plant, harvest, process, package, and transport food as well as to manufacture and apply synthetic fertilizers and biocides. In order to reduce the ecological footprint of our food supply, we need to increase the percentage of food eaten locally that has been grown within the metropolitan area using methods that build organic matter in the soil—sequestering carbon—and minimize fossil fuel use for farm machinery, transportation, fertilizers, and biocides.
People in the local group Victory Garden Initiative are able to rattle off things that sound virtually identical to that at the drop of a hat. But the above language is not from food activists. It’s is from the City of Kansas City, Missouri. KC is not one of the supposedly hippie-infested likes of Boulder, Colorado or Madison, Wisconsin. (And really, both have been overrun with yuppies for ages now.) Kansas City is as middle-America as you can get, with all the problems and joys and challenges of anywhere else in the country. They’ve got their feet on the ground. Most of the folks I knew in K.C. weren’t too fond of pie-in-the-sky thinking. But they can see what’s coming down the road. Which is why it makes prefect sense to me that this is in their recommended “Strategy/action plan”:
1. Create urban agriculture zoning to foster fruit and vegetable production as well as small-scale animal husbandry on vacant land and lots within neighborhoods.
2. Ask the Board of Parks and Recreation to explore the possibility of opening up portions of City parks for use as community gardens, for-profit and nonprofit urban farms, and produce markets.
3. Through the City’s website and publications, encourage residents to grow food in home and community gardens using methods that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sequester carbon and to compost their food and yard waste to provide organic matter for urban gardens and farms.
4. Through the City’s website and publications, encourage institutional entities including businesses, churches, and schools to make land available for community gardens and markets and to compost their food and yard waste to provide organic matter for urban gardens and farms. Provide recognition to businesses that participate.
5. Revise City property codes to explicitly allow tall garden plants, front yard gardens, and cover crops.
8. Designate the promotion of urban food production using methods that reduce greenhouse emissions and sequester carbon as a priority in Community Block Development Grant appropriations.
9. Provide funding to Kansas City Community Gardens, the Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture, and other nonprofit organizations to increase their support for community, home and commercial gardens in metropolitan Kansas City.
10. Establish a real estate tax abatement provision for privately-owned lands with no residences or businesses onsite that are operated as nonprofit community gardens.
11. Provide funding to the Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture to help them expand their efforts to increase the number of urban farms in metropolitan Kansas City.
13. Establish a fund to pay for soil remediation on contaminated lands to enable their conversion to urban farms and community gardens.
Much of this was produced with the help of the University of Missouri Extension. But, it was adopted as municipal code. Milwaukee’s city and county representatives need to adopt similar principles and actions as well.