April 2, 2012
Growing Local Foods
On Friday, March 30th the Minneapolis City Council voted to take a big step forward in urban agriculture. The vote changes the city’s zoning code to allow expanded food growing in our city. The zoning code amendment approves two new land uses—for market gardens and urban farms—and sets development and design standards. Minneapolis already allows community gardens in most areas of the city and there were more than one hundred of them in place last year. This effort takes food growing to a new level for the benefit of resident health, the environment and the economic vitality of the city.
Under the new code, regulatory it is easier to use land for agriculture in Minneapolis. Urban agricultural land uses are now expanded in all zoning districts to include:
- Small market gardens, 10,000 square feet or less of growing area on the ground, on a rooftop, or inside a building.
- A new temporary use permit was also created, allowing a farmstand to operate for up to 15 days per year to allow market and community gardeners limited to sell products right where they’re grown.
- Larger market gardens, on the ground, on a rooftop, or inside a building with the issuance of a conditional use permit required and if they’re compatible with surrounding properties.
- Urban farms, limited to industrial and general commercial zoning districts, to allow produce to be grown, processed and distributed on the same lot.
“I am very happy to vote for these zoning changes to better support urban agriculture in our city,” says Council Member Lilligren, “A good diet is beyond the reach of many of the people I represent. This action helps bring healthy organic local food to core-city residents.”
The zoning changes emerged from the Homegrown Minneapolis. Homegrown Minneapolis is a City and community partnership established to develop and implement strategies that will increase and improve the growing, processing, distributing, eating and composting of healthy, sustainable, locally grown foods. In 2011 the Minneapolis City Council formally adopted an Urban Agriculture Policy Plan to promote development and agricultural land uses can be accommodated throughout the city.
“I like the emphasis on creating a market pathway for food grown right here in Minneapolis,” stated Lilligren, “It’s about economic development and creating jobs.” There has been much interest at the local and federal levels of government to better combine scarce dollars to help build healthy communities through connections between land use, transportation, urban design and access to high quality food. “It’s smart for us to be taking these steps to align with the interest at the federal level to combine agency dollars from HUD, Ag and the Dept. of Transportation to address food deserts in U.S. cities,” states Lilligren, “Now we will be ready to take full advantage of any federal programs created to support this work.”
Councilmember Lilligren believes a healthy community is a sustainable community. He notes that many organic and local farming activities are going on in the 6th Ward, throughout the Phillips area and in other core-city neighborhoods. Robert is active in leading this environmental friendly charge and has served for years on the board of the Women’s Environmental Institute – an organization that promotes agricultural justice, organic and sustainable agriculture and ecological awareness; and supports activism that influences public policy and promotes social change.
The Whittier Alliance
is gearing up for its Annual Meeting to be kicked off by a social hour and include Board Member elections, resource tables, and more! Please consider attending on Tuesday, April 3rd from 5:30-8:30pm. Swing by with your friends and neighbors to hear about Whittier's
accomplishments and stop by to say hi to Council Member Lilligren's as the 6th Ward Office will be tabling during the event.
Spring comprehensive street sweeping is scheduled to begin Tuesday, April 10
. Parkway, and some downtown sweeping at night, will start earlier on March 26. Watch for temporary no parking signs, and use the online Street Sweeping Schedule Lookup.
Mondays with Robert
Council Member Lilligren has always believed that it's important for people like you and me to have access to government. Robert is still committed to that value today. For that reason, Robert makes himself available to community member visits on a walk-in and appointment basis.
You can meet with Robert on the first four Mondays of the month at each of the neighborhoods he represents. Call or email Alondra at 673-2206 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins are welcome, however - you will be asked to wait if there is a scheduled appointment.
NOTE: On City holidays office hours will be cancelled.
First Monday of the Month
Whittier Alliance, 10 E. 25th Street
9:30am - 11:30am
Second Monday of the Month
Phillips West, 2400 Park Ave.
Center for Changing Lives
9:30am - 11:30am
Third Monday of the Month
Stevens Square, 1925 Nicollet Ave.
9:30am - 11:30am
Fourth Monday of the Month
Ventura Village, 2323 11th Ave. S.
2nd Floor of Phillips Community Center
9:30am - 11:30am
Openings on the Neighborhood & Community Engagement Commission
On September 26, 2008 the City Council adopted Resolution 2008R-402 , creating the new Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission. Through the input and work of the Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission, residents and neighborhood organizations will play a key role in enhancing and shaping how the City engages its residents.
This year, neighborhood districts 2,4,6 and 8 are up for re-election through the neighborhood election process. In addition 1 Mayoral and 3 City Council positions are up for re-appointment through the City's appointment process. To learn more about how you can apply to become a Neighborhood & Community Engagement Commissioner please visit the Neighborhood & Community Relations website.
To learn more about the 50+ City commissions and boards that the public can apply to become a part of please visit the City's Boards & Commissions website.