The Food Policy Council has had some significant policy wins: our 2015 zoning amendments for urban agriculture, and this year’s change to the animal ordinance, increasing the allowed number of chickens.
We also helped shape these SA Tomorrow Food System goals that call for more local production:
- Enhance existing farm to school programs and initiatives.
- Educate and enhance opportunities for low-income residents to participate in assistance programs to purchase healthy food from local farmers markets.
- Introduce fresh food circulators and mobile vendors in neighborhoods with limited access to fresh foods.
- Expand the number and frequency of farmers markets throughout San Antonio.
- Pilot a program that includes incentives and resources to facilitate urban agricultural uses on vacant or underutilized land.
- Develop an urban agriculture training program with local partners to train new urban farmers in agriculture and business practices (including food production and processing).
It’s time now to pay attention to how those policies are implemented. SA Tomorrow says we should be welcoming to new urban ag projects in order to meet our goals, but what does that look like? Pre-existing procedures, policies, and fee structures might need to be revised.
We’ll be meeting with City offices to ask that San Antonio coordinate to help and encourage new urban farmers, rather than putting obstacles in their way.
We’ll be working with Animal Care Services to ensure that field officers are trained on the new ordinance, and will apply it consistently.
We’re developing educational materials to spread the word about the urban ag rules, the state’s cottage food law, and good chicken care.
What can you do?
We need help producing these materials, including print and video. If you can’t help with that, maybe you can donate (see above) to help with the costs.
We can always use your voice at your city council office, to let them know you support what we’re doing.
Come to the meetings, join a workgroup, and let’s make San Antonio a haven for urban farmers of all kinds, so that everyone has access to healthy, fresh, affordable food, and our local food economy thrives.